'Appalled and disgusted': Outrage over 'George Floyd Challenge'

Josh Dutton
News Reporter

A new “disgusting” social media trend appears to be emerging following the death of US man George Floyd at the hands of police officers.

Users of the social media app TikTok have started sharing images of themselves attempting to replicate what happened in the incident in what has been called the ‘George Floyd Challenge’.

Young people, mostly males, are shown face down on the ground while another person puts their knee on the first person’s neck.

Mr Floyd, an African American man, 46, was arrested and filmed pleading for a police officer to get off him as he cried that he couldn’t breathe. The harrowing footage of the incident was later shared online.

He died as a result of the incident and it has led to more than a week of nationwide protest around the US.

The intention of the TikTok posts appears to be to mock the tragic death.

Two school boys from St Joseph's College, Gregory Terrace imitate George Floyd's arrest. Source: Facebook and TikTok

Two boys from prestigious Brisbane private school St Joseph’s College Gregory Terrace were filmed appearing the imitate the video of Mr Floyd’s arrest, much to the disgust of people online.

“I’m absolutely appalled and disgusted,” one woman tweeted.

A spokesperson for St Joseph’s College Gregory Terrace confirmed to Yahoo News Australia the students do go to the school and it’s aware of the footage calling it “highly inappropriate”.

“We share in the community disappointment in regard to this,” a school spokesperson told Yahoo News.

“The actions of a small number of students in no way reflect the college's values and explicit teachings.

“We are treating the matter seriously and dealing with it as an absolute priority.”

However, The Courier-Mail said it’s been told the student on the ground was being bullied and was not re-enacting what happened to Mr Floyd.

Many others have also shared pictures of themselves replicating the arrest on social media, particularly on Twitter.

“As if what’s going on isn't sad enough, people are really making this a form of humour and entertainment,” one man tweeted.

One woman tweeted: “this is why we protest”.

“Are you kidding me?! This is why we are angry. These people think it’s a damn game,” she tweeted.

A petition has also been started on Change.org to have videos of people imitating Mr Floyd’s arrest taken off TikTok.

A TikTok spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia its community “cares for and supports each other”.

“We value and celebrate inclusivity and are focussed on promoting an environment free from hateful speech or harassment,” the spokesperson said.

“As we make clear in our community guidelines, content that praises violent tragedies or disparages their victims is a direct violation of our guidelines and we will remove any such content from our platform.”

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