Is Anyone Surprised? YouTube Had to Deal With an ‘Unprecedented Volume’ of Violent Videos After Christchurch Terrorist Attack

The Washington Post has reported that YouTube dealt with an “unprecedented volume” of violent videos after last week’s terrorist attack in New Zealand.

On Friday, a gunman murdered 50 worshippers at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. Currently, 35 more are hospitalized with 12 in critical condition, including a 4-year-old-girl. In an appalling act of cruelty, the murders were recorded and posted to social media channels around the world. As the news unfolded, the footage spread at an alarming rate. After the weekend, Facebook has reported that they removed an astonishing 1.5 million videos of the attack in just 24 hours.

Although YouTube has not made an official statement about how many videos have been moderated, the company said they have experienced an unprecedented volume of violent content. According to The Washington Post, moderators worked through the night to remove tens of thousands of videos of the terrorist attack. In an interview with The Post, chief product officer Neal Mohan said that some uploads were altered to prevent automated tools from spotting the footage.

Reports suggest that copies of the video were being added as fast as one per second. Eventually, this drove the streaming site to disable some search options to control the problem. In addition, they also shut down some human review features to speed up the process. However, by Friday, they had no choice but to send newsworthy clips via human moderators to check for violence or disturbing imagery.

Since the shootings last week, the entire world has been united in shock and sadness. The assailant, Brenton Harrison Tarrant, appeared in court on Saturday. The Australian citizen did not make a plea, but flashed a white supremacist hand signal.
In response to the attack, US Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said:

“We, too, have seen the face of such evil with attacks in places such as Charlottesville, Pittsburgh, and Charleston. And in the wake of the New Zealand tragedy, I want to make one thing very clear: We will not permit such hate in the homeland.”

However, unlike the United States, New Zealand’s government has made decisive moves to reform gun laws in the country. In a statement, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said:

“We have listened to public sentiment following Friday’s terrorist attack in Christchurch and decided to remove all semi-automatic firearms sales and parts associated.”

Meanwhile, social media giants are facing new challenges about how to moderate violent or disturbing content. While most services agree that this was an unusual incident, the spread of the Christchurch footage has led to calls for companies to do more to protect users from hateful and violent material.

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Not Surprised: Covington Catholic School Kids Wore Blackface At Sporting Events

Blackface Policemen

Source: Hulton Deutsch / Getty

In the days since the identity of the MAGA hat-wearing teens mocking and mugging Native American activist and elder Nathan Phillips was revealed, there has been a lot of tapdancing and goalpost-shifting going on. Video of the Covington Catholic High School students rocking Blackface makeup at a basketball game and yelling at a rival Black player has surfaced, but the students claim it’s just plain old school pride.

Crooks and Liars reports:

Fox and Friends’ Steve Doocy made believe the students from Covington Catholic HS were the real victims during his morning interview with two students since a video went viral and after doing everything he could to exonerate their behavior, Doocy asked about the time the students wore blackface at a basketball game.

Doocy was perplexed as to why reporters would look through prior videos of the school’s events to determine what their past behavior. Doocy wanted to get to the bottom of one incident, a racist one.

“There was a pep rally where one of the members of the school body appeared to have blackface on. People even asked you to explain that,” Doocy said.

“How do you explain that?” he asked.

Sam Schroder replied, “I’d just explain it as showing our school spirit.”

Say, what? Acting like racists shows school spirit? Any adult at their school would know using blackface hasn’t been accepted since Al Jolson’s days and they would understand that too.

Right.

The kids went on to explain that the school had several themes of school spirit, which in our view must also include a racially insensitive practice and then allowing the boys to wear said Blackface makeup at a game where, you guessed it, Black players are being yelled at.

The spin that conservative pundits are taking with this matter is outright disgusting. Folks would have more respect for all of this if the kids and their parents owned up to the fact that they might all just be a little racist inside.

Photo: Getty

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Dolph Lundgren Is Surprised ‘Masters of the Universe’ Remake Hasn’t Emerged Yet

With Creed II now out in cinemas and Aquaman not far behind, former He-Man, Dolph Lundgren, is enjoying something of a renaissance. Not that he has been away from the movie scene, mind you, but with two big blockbuster movies in such a short space of time, he is firmly back in the limelight.

After the success of Rocky IV in 1985, the Swedish actor was thrust into his first starring role as the Prince of Eternia in the live-action version of Masters of the Universe. Back in the early 1980s, He-Man, Skeletor and chums were big business and in 1987 they made the leap to the big screen. Despite a hefty budget, the film was a box-office flop but has gained a huge cult following in the three decades since…

Film’s Creators “Had a Heart Attack”

Playing an American icon didn’t come easy for Lundgren given that his acting career was still in its infancy. He found the going tough. Indeed, when the first dailies from the film reached executives at Mattel – the creators of He-Man – they “just about had a heart attack!” His accent and grasp of English worried them, and they almost dubbed his voice before release. He stuck with it but admits it was a pressured role.

“I remember myself as a young kid, who had just been in this huge hit playing a Soviet bad guy, now suddenly having to play He-Man, this American hero and icon,” he says. “It kind of did a number on me. I was super nervous and under a lot of pressure — and with those long night shoots as well!”

Masters of the Universe set a record for the longest run of night shoots on any one film, with a reported 54 days of shooting.

Collapse of an Empire

Made for $ 22 million by Cannon Films, led by founders Menahem Golan and Yorum Globus, they saw huge potential in Masters of the Universe and a possible franchise, but during production the company was beset with financial problems and the set was fraught, with the crews not being paid on time and big chunks of the film being scrapped and truncated, including the big fight sequence in the film’s finale which almost wasn’t filmed.

“Cannon had a lot of financial problems, lots of things had to be changed and the script was chopped and things cut out,” remembers Lundgren. “We were caught up in this storm over at Cannon and I was starring in their biggest budget film and of course, the company was melting down underneath our feet whilst we were making it.”

Despite the failure of the film, a second part went into pre-production with director Albert Pyun attached to direct a lower-budget version without Lundgren, Langella et al. But when Cannon collapsed, Pyun turned the script into Cyborg, the 1989 actioner starring Jean-Claude Van Damme.

I DARE ANYTHING, I AM SKELETOR!


Frank Langella as Skeletor in Masters of the Universe.

No matter what you think of the film, there is one element that is almost unanimously admired: the performance of Frank Langella as Skeletor. It’s got to be one of the most underappreciated of all time. He sits somewhere outside Darth Vader, The Joker, Thanos and Hannibal Lecter, which, when you consider how goofy the cartoon version of the character was, says all you need to know about Langella’s performance. Indeed, the actor himself says it’s still one of his favourite parts of his career.

Lundgren says he was wowed by his performance.

“I really looked up to him and I was very respectful of him,” he says. “But I realised how good he was and what a great job he did because he was buried under these latex sheets that were glued onto his face and yet he could express all of these emotions and anger. He was always so nice, too.”

WHERE IS THE REMAKE/REBOOT?

Surprisingly, this film remains the only live-action version of the characters – though not for the want of trying. And that’s excluding a series of UK television ads in which the characters appear. Over the years filmmakers such as John Woo, John M. Chu, McG and David S. Goyer have tried and failed to bring He-Man and co. back to the big screen with a 21st-century makeover. Sony now has the rights (and still have the film “primed” for a Christmas 2019 release), but given the lure of superheroes, comic books and fantasy stories in modern cinema, Lundgren is as shocked as anyone that a remake hasn’t yet emerged, especially as he would like to be in it.

“Yeah, I’m very surprised. I heard about it about ten years ago when one of the big studios was working on it,” he said. “I actually met the writer, by the way. We had a dinner and he asked me if I would want to be in the picture and I said, ‘Sure!’ If they thought of something good, then great. Then that went under and someone else came in, then I heard Channing Tatum was gonna play He-Man at some point – this was maybe five years ago – and now I just heard that someone else is attached to it. Channing would be great. I met him on Hail, Caesar when I did a little submarine sequence [which was eventually cut out]. He would be good, he’s a cool guy.”

As for a director, what about James Wan, who helmed Aquaman? After all, he is a self-confessed fan of the original film.

“When I was hired for Aquaman, James Wan told me he was a huge Masters fan when he was a kid, he had the sword and everything. And when he was casting King Nereus he thought of He-Man, and he thought of me so having done Masters kind of got me the role in that film.”

A GOOD JOURNEY

Despite all the issues with the film, there are many that still hold a special place for it in their hearts. In the UK, for example, it was reportedly one of the biggest video rentals of 1988 and its cult following has grown so much that many fans are still clamouring for a special Blu-ray release from an independent distributor. Sadly, the likelihood of that is very slim. Over the years, Lundgren has reportedly distanced himself from the film but he put the record straight and said he still holds the film close to his heart.

“I look back at it very fondly. I know there has been some speculation in the press that I didn’t like it – maybe I said that when I was 32 or something – but I do have huge fondness for it,” he said. “I’ve caught the film since many times and it’s such a sweet, alluring movie. It’s flawed in some ways but its very watchable. I like the story, the fact that they came to Earth and they to make it back to Eternia. I think that was all cool.”

Whatever happens to future incarnations of the characters, the 1987 version has a charm to it that can never be recaptured. And despite all the problems it was beset with, director Gary Goddard and his crew managed to pull out one of the gems of ’80s sci-fi/fantasy cinema. Albeit one that wasn’t appreciated in its time.

Creed II is out now while Aquaman hits screens in the UK screens on December 12, the US on December 21 and Australia on December 26.

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