Fresh off his hits against the COVID-19 lockdowns, Barstool Sports founder David Portnoy said #BlackoutTuesday, the recent campaign of people plastering black boxes across their social media profiles throughout the day in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, is just an empty symbol that is “doing nothing.”
“Let me be very clear… we have to get to a place in this country where it doesn’t matter the color of your skin,” Portnoy said in a video post. “If you see a police officer walking down the street, you don’t think you’re going to be treated differently because you’re black or white. We have to get there.”
High-profile celebrities and large companies flooded their profile pictures with black boxes on Tuesday. According to Portnoy, it was an empty gesture that does nothing to bring about progress, arguing that people should be more focused on the riots destroying American cities.
“But does that box on your profile today get you any closer? Everybody is already hyperfocused on racism right now in the U.S,” said Portnoy. “There are riots basically every single night. You couldn’t be paying more attention to these issues at this precise moment if your life depended on it, so what does the black box do?”
“It almost seems like a symbolic gesture, which is fine… should we be stopping posting the videos of the riots and cops acting like a**holes and looters acting like a**holes,” he continued. “A lot of people are getting their info from social media… I’m making informed decisions by myself by seeing videos and information. Now I just see black boxes. Why today?”
Portnoy thought that a better move would be to have the blackout “six months from now” so people can be reminded about racism in this country. As for posting, Portnoy felt a better course of action was to keep the focus on the current crisis.
“I tend to think the right move is to continue posting. I should continue posting; Barstool should continue posting,” he said. “So while on the outside, yeah, no-brainer noble cause, I don’t think really people thought it out. It is just like a quick, ‘Hey, I support Black Lives Matter. I put up a black box. I’m doing my part,’ but you’re really doing nothing. And I don’t think it’s intentional and I don’t even know that I’m right. But I think people need information.”
— Dave Portnoy (@stoolpresidente) June 2, 2020
Portnoy was not alone in his criticisms of Blackout Tuesday. According to CNN, several activists believed the campaign was doing more harm than good by using the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag only to show black screens.
“We know that’s it no intent to harm but to be frank, this essentially does harm the message,” mental health advocate and Black Lives Matter activist Kenidra Woods posted on Twitter. “We use hashtag to keep ppl updated. PLS stop using the hashtag for black images!!”
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