The following text is mostly transcribed from a video posted on our Instagram on Friday, September 22.
This week, our editor-in-chief, Jacob Christensen, was featured in multiple videos posted by the Black Menaces on TikTok and Instagram. After being challenged by the Cougar Chronicle, Sebastian Stewart-Johnson of the Black Menaces posted a response in which he made some questionable assertions. The Black Menaces have once again used deceptive tactics to shape the narrative they want to portray.
According to Brigham Young University, the school “does not allow people or businesses to film or photograph on campus and use that media for promotional, marketing, commercial, advocacy, or similar purposes.” Sebastian claimed he was not “making monetary value” from his videos; this statement is blatantly false, as multiple videos they have filmed on campus explicitly advertise merchandise sales. Further evident by the donation tab on the Black Menaces’ linktree, the Black Menaces have undoubtedly made monetary gains from the videos filmed on BYU campus.
Sebastian’s second claim stated that he does not engage in “political advocacy.” According to BYU policy, “Groups or individuals may not film or photograph for documentaries or advocacy campaigns on campus property without university approval.” Sebastian claims that the content filmed on campus is not political advocacy. However, the very goal of the Black Menaces is to create “change” through greater “awareness” as implied in their bio’s slogan that “the revolution will be televised.” Many of the questions posed to BYU students in these videos are politically charged, being tailor-made for followers to mock the students for holding certain political and even religious beliefs. Questions such as “Are you pro-life or pro-choice” or “Would you date a transgender person” have been asked in past videos; if one is even remotely familiar with the group, it is clear where the group stands on these controversial social issues based on advocacy on their social media pages.
Apart from blatantly violating BYU filming policy, the Black Menaces create content with the intention of humiliating and ridiculing students, in some cases for merely standing up for their own religious and political beliefs.
Written by: Wyatt Karras
Senior Contributor at the Cougar Chronicle
The Cougar Chronicle is an independent student-run newspaper and is not affiliated with Brigham Young University or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.