In a move that shows yet again that Black lives really don’t matter to some media outlets, The Daily Beast turned the just-released video of Laquan McDonald’s death into a gif.
Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke, who is White, fatally shot McDonald, a Black 17-year-old, in October 2014. Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder yesterday, and Chicago Police Department (CPD) released a graphic dashcam video of McDonald’s death. Police officials refused to release the tape until a Cook County judge forced them to do so. The video reveals that McDonald was shot 16 times, and that the police account of events does not match the reality of the situation.
In a Chicago Tribune article immediately after the shooting, CPD said that McDonald stabbed the tires of a couple of squad cars, damaged one of the windshields and lunged at police. But the video shows that while McDonald was carrying a knife with a three-inch blade, he was walking away from Van Dyke when the officer pulled the trigger. And 13 of the shots were fired after he hit the ground. The Chicago Tribune reports that the video prompted hundreds of people to protest in Chicago streets.
While many outlets choose to post and air the video, somehow, The Daily Beast thought it was a good idea to loop McDonald’s killing into an animated gif. Thanks to most social networks’ autoplay feature, anyone who stumbled across the gif was exposed to the violent death. Critics argue that it was a move that trivialized the life and death of this Black boy who died at the hands of a White police officer.
I can’t feel good about a “news” outlet that creates a GIF of someone’s son being murdered. Go to hell @dailybeast. Blocked. Signed, A Mom.— Housing Policy Watch (@HousingWatchMD) November 25, 2015
The Daily Beast posted a gif of the murder of #LaquanMcDonald. That’s how much black lives matter to them. How much life matters to them.— Double O (@2Oudeh) November 25, 2015
Fucking daily beast is trash for having that young mans execution posted in gif form on their page. I’m so sick. Did not need to see that.— Hakuna Matata (@hotpinkBALLZSak) November 25, 2015
Remove the gif of Laquan McDonald’s execution, @thedailybeast! Black death is not entertainment. Black pain is not click bait.— #You’reSoWellSpoken (@OutstandingWC) November 25, 2015
Oof, that autoplaying gif Daily Beast tweeted of Laquan McDonald dying in the street feels like a hard editorial decision to defend…— Liam Stack (@liamstack) November 25, 2015
Someone made a gif of Laquan McDonald’s murder? Why? He’s a real person, not a TV character. D:— moo cow (@_muhkuh) November 25, 2015
Hactivist group Anonymous even threatened the website:
A MESSAGE TO @THEDAILYBEAST: Take the gif down, or we will destroy your filthy Twitter account.— TheAnonMessage (@TheAnonMessages) November 25, 2015
After receiving extensive backlash, The Daily Beast’s editor-at-large Goldie Taylor announced via Twitter that they were taking down the gif.
Had a convo wi/ our sr. team, incl. @DailyBeast EIC John Avlon. By tweeting a GIF, we unintentionally trivialized a death. We are deleting.— Goldie Taylor (@goldietaylor) November 25, 2015
— Goldie Taylor (@goldietaylor) November 25, 2015
Our team at @thedailybeast is committed to getting this story right and that means we do a great deal of listening. We heard you.