NEW YORK — In what’s being called a major screwup, the popular news site Mediaite accidentally posted a disturbing video of the savage beating of a gay man. Even more embarrassing, the site asked viewers to share the video with friends and family, including elderly grandparents, former employers and yoga instructors.
The clip shows a vicious attack on Christin Howard, a 20-year-old gay man who on Sunday was attending Detroit’s annual pride event. Comments below the content demonstrate how disturbed viewers felt. “I want to throw up,” wrote one viewer. “Watching this has made me want to wash my eyes with bleach, quit my job and move to the wilds of the Yukon,” wrote another.
Instead of preventing viewers from making their social contacts endure the horror of watching an innocent man get pummled by a gang of psychotic assailants, the webmaster of Mediaite.com — by pure accident, we can be sure — enabled a host of social media buttons, enouraging poor viewers to share the video.
Andrew Kirell, the editor-in-chief of Mediaite, says he does not know how the video got posted to Mediaite.com, nor does he know why the share buttons were enabled.
“This is likely the work of a freakazoid hacker hell-bent on tarnishing our journalistic reputation,” Kirell said. “We would never knowingly post something so utterly violent that offers nothing in the way of informing the public, but rather panders to base morbid curiosity.”
“No one needs to watch a man get his skull bashed by an angry homophobic crowd,” Kirell added.
As of Wednesday, at least a dozen Mediaite staff members were crowded around Kirell’s computer, arguing about how to best disable the social media buttons after having decided to leave up the video which is, they reluctantly admitted, kind of stimulating to watch.