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Why That Sacha Baron Cohen Speech at the ADL was Bull | The Takedown

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A little over a month from uploading this, Sacha Baron Cohen gave a speech, where he lambasted Facebook and YouTube for promoting questionable political ads, and allowing people to have edgy teenage opinions on social media platforms without his permission. A lot of people have given their nuclear takes on this topic, and have been kicking this dead horse into the ground like they're making compost fertilizer. And so, In typical RAGE PRO fashion, I got on this topic later than Microsoft Internet Explorer's download speeds. Bear with me here, because there's a lot to unpack.

The hero 'woke comedy' needs

Mainstream news sites have been plastering Twitter and Facebook with news of the 'brave and virtuous' Sacha Baron Cohen's speech at the Never is Now summit, held by the Anti Defamation league.

Cohen, best known for playing a racist caricature of an antisemitic Khazacstani goat farmer named Borat, slams Facebook and YouTube for promoting "racist and antisemitic posts" on their website. You know, that thing Facebook never actually did?
This film, where Cohen's character Borat famously sang the song "Throw the jew down the well". His promoters advertised this very film on Facebook, but now, all the sudden edgy politics are a "problem".

After accepting the ADL's International leadership award, Cohen –the guy who played a white guy trying to be a ghetto AF black guy for five years in films and television– lambasted major social networks like YouTube and Facebook for what the wealthy elitist boomers who likely wrote Cohen's acceptance speech claim are directly responsible for "murderous attacks on religious and ethnic minorities"
This is the guy who wants to tell you what's appropriate on the internet.

here's some notable quotes from the speech he gave during an election season, which totally isn't suspicious or anything.

all this hate and violence is being facilitated by a handful of internet companies that amount to the greatest propaganda machine in history
 Says the guy who used both Facebook and YouTube to promote his film, where he played the role of a flamboyant homosexual fashion designer, chasing down straight people.

I feel like this speaks for itself.

The algorithms these platforms depend on deliberately amplify the type of content that keeps users engaged – stories that appeal to our baser instincts and that trigger outrage and fear. It’s why YouTube recommended videos by the conspiracist Alex Jones billions of times. It’s why fake news outperforms real news, because studies show that lies spread faster than truth … As one headline put it, just think what Goebbels could have done with Facebook.

 If you pay them, Facebook will run any ‘political’ ad you want, even if it’s a lie,

 And they’ll even help you micro-target those lies to their users for maximum effect. Under this twisted logic, if Facebook were around in the 1930s, it would have allowed Hitler to post 30-second ads on his ‘solution’ to the ‘Jewish problem’.

Cohen then went on to roast Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, for saying that Facebook is a bastion of "Free expression." Which is bullshit, by the way.

I think we could all agree that we should not be giving bigots and paedophiles a free platform to amplify their views and target their victims.

He then goes on to say this:

Internet companies can now be held responsible for paedophiles who use their sites to target children. I say, let’s also hold these companies responsible for those who use their sites to advocate for the mass murder of children because of their race or religion. And maybe fines are not enough. Maybe it’s time to tell Mark Zuckerberg and the CEOs of these companies: you already allowed one foreign power to interfere in our elections, you already facilitated one genocide in Myanmar, do it again and you go to jail.

Why is this a problem?

I think anyone who has used the internet for more than a week in their entire life knows that Facebook doesn't know what humor is, or that there is such a thing as being facetious or sarcastic. Meme pages are taken down faster than a pedophile on an FBI watch-list, and posting articles from sites that are among Facebook's competitors is enough to get your article banned. It's a similar situation with YouTube. Apple, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube all banned InfoWars at relatively the same time, and most YouTube videos aren't even monetize-able, because so many videos might contain the word "fuck" in them.

Yet, music videos, and clips uploaded from major Holywood and music studios are able to stay untouched, AND have ad revenue⁠ —despite containing content that breaches the TOS (Terms of service) of all these websites. Why? Because they have money. Just goes to show you how disconnected rich dudes like Cohen are from the world, as seen by the poor and middle class. He's  rich, so he never had to deal with censorship in social media first hand.

The "freedom for security" question

Yeah, you could argue that Facebook needs to censor people in order to protect the fragile Minds of its incredibly stupid users, but let's be real here: If Facebook took the moral policing approach in the mid 2000's, while he was making jokes about the holocaust and playing a wigger named ALI-G for 5 years, Cohen wouldn't have a comedy career at all. He would be banned on the platforms he's criticizing now, and would probably be fighting off more allegations of racism than a police officer serving an arrest warrant in a black neighborhood.

It seems like the only way to get away with making edgy jokes is to be paid up with the right people. It's always like that with these "famous people", isn't it? If Stephen Colbert does a white nationalist salute on his late night TV show, he gets national syndication, because he has enough money and fame to make the context matter. But if I made that same joke, in the same context, My videos will get demonetized, I'd be suspended from Twitter, and my ass would probably be on a government watch list or something. 

Stephen Colbert mocking Steve Bannon on his late night show in 2017, but it's okay when THIS white guy does it, because he's making fun of the Trump administration, and CBS pays him a lot of money.

If I walked around for years famously pretending to be a hood n**** from the streets, getting that paper, my ass would be cancelled faster than a Jeffrey Epstein's prison term. Unless, of course, I were, say, a famous film director like Quintin Tarantino. Then, everyone is cool with it. Suddenly, as long as you make a film starring a black comedian that made 426 million dollars, you get to walk around like you're posted up on the block, and say the n-word any time you feel like it. If my Italian ass walked around wearing jerseys three sizes too big, and speaking fluent food stamps, somebody would check me almost immediately. I would get the shit kicked out of me faster than a homosexual walking into an ISIS hideout for a job interview. 

Just goes to show you how disconnected rich assholes like Cohen are from the real world. People like Cohen haven't seen a crackdown on freedom of expression, because he's too rich to have to deal with it himself. So, like most wealthy 40-something boomers with their head up their ass, they just assume the censorship their ego trip is looking for doesn't exist.

But the fact that Cohen is the one saying it makes it feel even more disingenuous. Hearing a guy -who made his living off of these platforms- start slamming them now is like watching Mitt Romney pretending to care about poor people. This asshole waits until he's made all the money he possibly could for more than a decade, then he chooses to promote censorship now that he made all his money. 

The 'woke' epidemic in comedy

Cohen's sellout mentality isn't unique, however. Nearly every celebrity who made their careers in edgy humor starts getting a superiority complex any time they get a little bit of clout, don't they? Amy Schumer, for example, built her entire career on edgy humor. Her repertoire included rape jokes, racist jokes, you name it. Yet, the moment she got mainstream clout, she's throwing fellow comedy writer Kurt Metzger under the bus because he made an off-color joke on Twitter about false rape accusations...?

How about Sarah Silverman? She spent more than a decade as one of the edgiest comics in show business. She was racier than comics like Doug Stanhope and Luis C.K., with more antisemitic humor than the /pol/ message board on 4Chan when the subject of Israel comes up. She's used the N-word with a hard R in one of her bits on 'the Sarah Silverman program,'  on Comedy Central, yet, because she had a network deal worth millions of dollars, nobody said a damn thing. But, this same woman can turn around years later and start giving the rest of the world "woke" lectures about 'equality' on her cancelled Hulu show "I love you America"?

Don't get me wrong: This clip is hilarious, but come on, people. Don't pretend you're the wokest Apple user at Starbucks after you got famous off of shit like this. 

But, even in light of those examples, Sacha has got to be the biggest sellout in the history of comedy. Cohen hasn't headlined a movie since 2011, and he's worth nearly 180 million dollars. Yet, in his nearly 30 year career, he never once said anything even remotely close to a rebuke toward social media during the Obama administration. No, he waits until TRUMP is president, then all the sudden, he complains about "racist ads" and "fake news". Funny how deafening his silence was when he was trending on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, when his promoters were using these platforms, paying his way to the top of the comedy scene. Real "virtuous" of you, Cohen. Way to throw the rest of us comedians under the bus.


The way I see it, no one who is pro-censorship in has any business calling themselves a comedian. Rich assholes like this will never know what it's like to have to build a comedy career from nothing in the age of cancel culture, the way I and other young comics would.
Cohen will likely never know what it's like to do a set on a college campus in the 2020's, and get treated like you're only black guy at a Klan rally. He's never going to know what it's like to go on Twitter, make a joke about his own ethnicity, and get treated like he just stuck a baby in a microwave. This is the reality we -as comics- face every time we do our act in public these days. 

No, I don't like the Genocide in Myanmar. I don't like Anti-semetism, and I don't like BoomerBook or YouTube. But I don't like these platforms Cohen criticizes because they are inherently hypocritical. They condemn based on personal politics, rather than principle ⁠—much like Cohen's speech at the ADL.

No, I'm not saying Cohen hates edgy humor. I'm not saying he wants to BAN edgy humor, but I am saying social media is a machine, and machines don't know what humor is. If Facebook, YouTube and Twitter took the steps he's talking about now, he would never have made it as a filmmaker. He would have been blacklisted and swept up in the wokepocalypse just like the rest of us, so it's easy for him to talk his bullshit up in his ivory tower.

...But he has a lot of money, so fuck everybody else, I guess.
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