The Crusader

Social media shaming soars to new heights

People+calling+911+to+report+on+others%E2%80%99+behavior+can+result+in+viral+social+media+shaming.
People calling 911 to report on others’ behavior can result in viral social media shaming.

People calling 911 to report on others’ behavior can result in viral social media shaming.

Photo illustration by Eddie Monares ’19

Photo illustration by Eddie Monares ’19

People calling 911 to report on others’ behavior can result in viral social media shaming.

Eddie Monares '19, Exchange and Social Media Editor

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Recently, a surge of questionable calls to the police, where citizens complain about other citizens’ behaviors, dominated social media platforms.

It has become popular only recently because until social media, these calls were hidden from the public eye.

According to several news reports, a woman named Jennifer Schulte, who was dubbed “BBQ Becky” online, called the cops on 37-year-old Kenzie Smith who was having a barbeque in Lake Merritt Park in Oakland.

Schulte insisted that the charcoal barbeque Smith was using was illegal in the park and reportedly waited two hours for the police. The police showed up, but no one was arrested.

A 25-minute YouTube video was posted by Smith’s wife, Michelle Snider, which soon went viral online, and the “BBQ Becky” meme was born.

Videos and memes were all over the internet with “BBQ Becky” on different images, such as the picture of Schulte calling the cops “memed” on pictures of Martin King Luther’s “I Have A Dream” speech and former President Barack Obama wearing a tan suit.

Vanessa Martinez, counselor of sophomores and House of Bolts seniors, said, “When people don’t

understand things, they often see it as bad. The people in the videos are doing nothing wrong, it’s people being in other people’s business.”

This isn’t the only incident that’s gone viral online. Several other incidents similar to “BBQ Becky” have occurred in the Bay Area.

One such incident occurred across the street from AT&TPark. Alison Ettel was filmedcalling the police on an African- American 8-year-old girl for selling water without a permit.

Martinez said, “This is 100 hundred percent race driven and it seems to be a trend of white women calling the cops on black people.”

Ettel called the cops because the girl was selling water without a seller’s permit. The 15 second clip posted on Twitter has 9.9 million views, and the “Permit Patty” meme came about online.

The online mockery forced Ettel to resign her job as the CEO of Treatwell Health, and make a public apology, but she denied calling 911. However, subsequently, the 911 recorded call was released and Ettel can be clearly heard in the call.

Edric De Mesa ’19 said, “Although it’s harsh and extreme for people to lose their jobs, it is fair for them to lose them because they displayed a poor showing of character and maturity  in the midst of a minor and unimportant event.”

Back in Oakland, a man was nicknamed “Jogger Joe” when he was caught on video throwing a homeless man’s belongings into Lake Merritt. The man, Henry Sintay, claimed he was cleaning the lake by getting rid of the man’s belongings, but others have pointed out the irony of Sintay wanting to clean the area by the lake, by throwing the items into it, which did not contribute to the cleanliness of the lake.

The next day, a man went to confront Sintay while on FacebookLive, and Sintay reportedly assaulted the man, and ran away with the man’s phone.

According to reports, Sintay was then arrested, charged with second degree robbery, and was being held in Santa Rita Jail in Dublin on a $55,000 bail.

The community outpouring for the homeless man named Drew was huge. Kenzie Smith, the target of the “BBQ Becky” incident, set up a GoFundMe page for Drew, which has raised $12,000.

De Mesa said, “Reporting minimal issues to the police is pointless, absurd, and a huge waste of time for everyone.”

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Social media shaming soars to new heights