On Tuesday night, video of yet another black teen being killed by a white police officer caught the attention of the world. The video of now-former Chicago Police Officer James Van Dyke killing 17-year-old Laquan McDonald was finally released after a court order. The release came on the heels of Van Dyke’s charge for murder Tuesday.
Within minutes of the video’s release, media outlets posted the nine-minute clip. But one media outlet decided to take it one step further.
The Daily Beast posted a looping GIF of Laquan getting shot in the back by the officer—a looping GIF on Twitter, which did not give people the opportunity to decide whether or not they wanted to see yet another death put on display.
People on Twitter were outraged, and rightly so.
Anonymous threatened to hack the site’s Twitter account if it didn’t remove it, and others on Twitter had their opinions about the GIF:
To display a looping GIF was disrespectful not only to Laquan and his family but also to people on social media who purposely wanted to look away from the shooting. When a news outlet posts a video, people have the option to push play, but when an image like a GIF is forced upon you on social media, it’s a totally different story.
Not everyone wants to see someone getting killed. How many times this year have we seen black people literally slaughtered by law enforcement? The shock value that the Daily Beast attempted to display was sickening and uncalled for.
Goldie Taylor, the Daily Beast’s editor-at-large, released an apology, saying, “By tweeting a GIF, we unintentionally trivialized a death. We are deleting.”
How about too little, too late?
As one Twitter user noted above, the looping GIF was strikingly similar to the photos of lynchings that whites used to share. Black lives didn’t matter back then, and it seems as though, to certain news outlets, they don’t matter now.