Activism

Powerful Social Experiment On Hate Speech: What Would You Do?

A very moving commercial against online abuse forces unaware participants to confront racism head-on


This social experiment was filmed in Lithuania, where ordinary people were invited to a casting call for a TV ad. Once they arrived, they were asked to sit down in a waiting room. They had no clue the waiting room was fake, and they were already being filmed by hidden cameras.

A black actor is seated, and he leans over and asks a favor from the person waiting with him. Could they translate a message left by a stranger on his Facebook wall? Everyone agrees, until they see the message. It’s a hateful, vile rant against the actor because of his skin color.

It tells him to ‘go home’ and calls him some terrible and shocking names. How do people deal with this? Most refuse to translate it, telling him the racist isn’t worth his attention. Others choose to tell him what it means. In all cases, people become quite emotional and tell the man they are sorry.

It’s a powerful experiment that was made to promote a Lithuanian website described as a ‘digital handbook’, full of advice on how to fight racial, homophobic, and other kinds of hate speech.


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