Sam “You can run, but you can’t” Hyde is one component of the iconic comedy group known as Million Dollar Extreme. Hyde rose to fame after a slew of stunts, including: Crashing a TED-talk to give a rant satirising how pretentious the talks are, and crashing a Japanese culture exhibition to give a gradually more offensive lecture on the wonders of anime and swastikas.
The edgy stunts pulled off by Hyde gained traction on 4chan’s /pol/ and /b/ boards, after which they took him on as a bit of a poster boy. He was emblematic of a fringe culture that mocked the sophistication and humourless nature of the top rungs of society.
Hitting it big, through stand-up routines and a booming YouTube channel, it was reported on several media outlets that Hyde had committed a number of school shootings; after an inside joke went too far, taking the web by storm.
Whenever a mass shooting was in progress, those from the dark corners of the net would contact their local news stations with the ‘identity’ of the shooter (stating that it was Hyde). Given that Hyde’s reputation was well beyond repair in the public eye, the only way that he could make something of himself was through taking up his comedy act professionally.
Comedy Central picked up a season of Sam’s show Million Dollar Extreme Presents: World Peace.
World Peace, was comprised of skit shows which poked fun at topical or social trends, by using offbeat humour and quirky delivery, to bring about a hilarious comedy extravaganza in each episode. Although, his work was not to everyone’s liking.
Buzzfeed published articles by Joseph Bernstein entitled ‘The Alt-Right Has Its Very Own TV Show on Adult Swim’ and ‘The Underground Neo-Nazi Promo Campaign behind Adult Swim’s Alt-Right Comedy Show’; despite Hyde never having any declared affiliation to said groups.
Bernstein had picked up on Hyde’s, slightly right-leaning, activities on Twitter and ran with it, pushing out three articles detailing hyperbolic assertions; tacking those labels onto what was a rather apolitical show.
This resulted in some in-fighting within Adult Swim staff, and eventually the show was pulled.
It goes without saying that Bernstein’s literary lynch-mob was founded on a personal vendetta against Sam Hyde. Hyde recorded an interview that Bernstein conducted and uploaded it to YouTube; berating him as a source for laughter.
Buzzfeed decided to revive the lügenpresse: The Young Turks decided to throw in their own spin on the drama. Beginning with Ana Kasparian, a co-host on the show, mixing up the title of Hyde’s show (World Peace) with the name of the comedy group (Million Dollar Extreme).
This “hard hitting research” was then continued by displaying a clip from the comedy troupe’s YouTube channel (which was nearly half a decade old) rather than a clip from the show itself.
This only served to misrepresent the situation, and add to the confirmation bias of TYT’s bullet-proof echo-chamber.
Naturally, the libertarian position on this would be to side with the business in their termination of the program; given the fact that a private company should be able to act as they see fit.
This is a clean-cut example of how businesses should have their own sense of autonomy; but there is also a serious social aspect that needs to be addressed, namely censorship.
Despite libertarians having no qualms over the way in which a company is run; it is still important to address culture. The censorship of a right-wing comedian is ultimately a slippery slope; in which standard political positioning results in people being fired from their work place.
One cannot, and should not, operate a society on one collectivist ideology alone.
Kim Manning, the Senior Director of Programming for Adult Swim, stated the following in a Reddit discussion:
What can I say? MDE is a source of HOT, HOT debate around the office. To be fair, I don’t know of a single alt-right sympathizer at Williams St, most of us at least lean more extreme left. (I gleefully wore a pantsuit all day on Tuesday, champagne ready, and am still crying, wearing my safety pin, googling what to do next.)
So, even though Adult Swim and Turner Media were perfectly within their rights to do what they did, should they have caved in to the pressure of an agenda? Or should a free world also entail a freedom of expression without getting fired? Is Buzzfeed’s bigotry to the ideals of others crippling the public perception of other media outlets? Should media cave in to other media? Or should these corporations give World Peace a chance?
This post was written by David McManus.
The views expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect our views and opinions.