Despite violent protests across the US, a new challenge called "George Floyd Challenge", being largely performed by whites, has gone viral on social media. The challenge, mocking the death of the 46-year-old African-American, has drawn widespread criticism from netizens.
On Memorial Day, Floyd was handcuffed and restrained by four Minneapolis police officers led by Derek Chauvin for an alleged $20 forgery. Chauvin pushed Floyd down on the road and pinned him down by placing his knee over Floyd's neck. Despite the victim shouting that he was not able to breathe, Chauvin did not move his knee for exactly 8.46 minutes, causing Floyd's death due to asphyxiation.
Whites Imitating Floyd's Death Scene
After a video clip of the incident went viral, the image of a helpless pinned down Floyd with Chauvin's knee on his neck has become symbolic with Black Lives Matter protests in the US and elsewhere. Mocking the incident by replicating it, the George Floyd Challenge has gone viral on social media sites including TikTok, Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram.
Under the new challenge, performed mostly by white males, users are imitating the image by placing a knee on someone lying on the ground. Smiling photos of the so-called challengers have not only enraged people, but also led to arrests of challengers.
According to The Post, the trend grabbed eyeballs after three British teenagers were arrested and investigated for a possible hate crime for posing in the horrific way Floyd lost his life in Minneapolis on Memorial Day.
The Sun reported that two white female high school seniors, due to attend the University of Missouri and Missouri State University, had to withdraw the enrollments after they uploaded a video ridiculing Floyd's killing on Snapchat. The video shows one of the girls kneeling over the other one who shouts she cannot breathe, making them both laugh loudly. The video was captioned: "Aw [nickname] can't breathe."
Last week, Dave Hollenbeck, a high school wrestling coach at Bethel High School in Spanaway, Washington, was fired after he enacted the pose by having someone place a knee to his neck.
'Racist Challenge' Draws Widespread Anger
The viral challenge has drawn widespread criticism, with netizens expressing their anger on social media sites. "Racists are now doing the George Floyd "challenge." This is what we're up against, folks. It's a privilege to make sarcasm about racism instead of experiencing it your whole life," wrote a user on Twitter.
"Wtf is this... "George Floyd challenge"??? Are you kidding me rn? Who are these racist ass kids I am SO angry I seriously cannot believe these people. This is beyond disrespectful," tweeted a user.
The Post stated that the social media outlets have already started removing the #GeorgeFloydChallenge. While the hashtag doesn't yield any results on Facebook, it responds with "Hashtag is Hidden" on Instagram.
"We are aware, and are removing these posts for violating our Community Standards. It was deemed encouraging participation in a high-risk viral challenge," a spokesperson for Facebook told the outlet.