The sound of an Australian teenager’s head hitting the floor in a video circulating on social media might be called the thud heard ‘round the world, but the footage was spun falsely as the latest example of Covid-19 mask tyranny.
The video, which made the rounds on social media on Wednesday, starts with a skinny and unconscious teenager being carried from behind in a chokehold by a portly security guard. The guard throws the teen down, leading to his head hitting the floor with a loud thud, then picks him up like a ragdoll by his shirt and trousers, carrying his lifeless-looking body out the door.
It turns out that the incident occurred earlier this month at a hotel pub near Melbourne, and the unidentified teen was being evicted for misbehaving, according to local media reports. Witnesses said the 18-year-old had been thrown out of the pub earlier, then climbed a fence to get back in and rejoin his friends. When security staff began to escort him out a second time, he ran away from them, jumped behind the bar and poured himself a beer.
A security guard then grabbed him, punched him in the head and choked him unconscious, onlookers said. The video shows what happened thereafter, with the unconscious teen being dragged out of the business. Pub patrons loudly react with an “ooh” to the sound of the young man’s head hitting the floor, then turn and watch as he is picked up and carried away. None of the customers or other security guards attempted to intervene.
The brutal footage was quickly seized upon by social media users with false inferences, either on purpose or otherwise, including some who said the teenager was roughly ejected for not wearing a mask. Chuck Callesto, who ran unsuccessfully as a Republican congressional candidate in Florida, was among those blaming the incident on a mask dispute.
BREAKING REPORT: Melbourne teenager is CHOKED UNCONCIOUS, thrown to floor for reportedly not wearing a mask..Just got a YouTube channel, please subscribe..⬇️https://t.co/UM9ORxoibw
Another conservative Twitter user apparently mistook the long-haired teen for a female and said she was choked and thrown down “over a f**king mask.”
🤬Teenage girl in Melbourne choked unconscious by security & thrown to the floor-Over a fkng mask!😷😔The sound her head made when it hit the floor😱Her countrymen all sat there & watched it happen like frightened sheep🐑🇺🇲I FOLLOW BACK pic.twitter.com/lctK1jJI2r
Conservative commentator Ian Miles Cheong tried to set the record straight, urging his 317,000 Twitter followers not to fall victim to “confirmation bias.” He added, “You don’t need to make up lies to combat tyranny.”
No doubt there’s a lot of injustice happening with regards to the enforcement of mask-wearing but this was not one of those instances. You don’t need to make up lies to combat tyranny.
Other observers pointed out that regardless of what led to the ejection, the guard’s behavior was unacceptable.
Victoria police are investigating the incident, according to local media reports. The unidentified teen said the security guard “showed no duty of care,” and he could have died from the way his head hit the floor. A spokesman for the hotel said the guard remains on duty but was reprimanded because the “unfortunate incident could have been handled a lot better.”
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