Farokh vs. Mr. Beast
Glimpses of Woke Hysteria in the Early Days of the Clubhouse Social Media App
Things got interesting on Clubhouse back in February 2021, veering at times between wildly entertaining and borderline horrifying, when a young gentleman by the name of Farokh threw a narcissistic hissy-fit loosely disguised as a grand and noble attempt to change the world.
(Clubhouse, for those who haven’t heard, is a once-hot audio-based app in which anyone can start their own “room” where they hold conversations on topics of their choice. The rooms exist in a “hallway” which other users can scroll and/or enter, with the option to listen in the audience or come onto the “stage” to join the conversation. Discussions are controlled by “moderators,” including the person who started the room along with anyone else they appoint.)
Farokh’s troubles began in a room moderated by social media superstar Mr. Beast (50 million Youtube followers). Mr. Beast is what the identity-obsessed (or “identitarian”) left refers to as a cisgender white male. That’s important to know.
Apparently a Mr. Beast fan, Farokh (person of color, brown but not black - important to know), himself a “luxury blogger” and social media influencer of some note, managed to get invited onto the stage, only to be unceremoniously removed when Mr. Beast decided to clear space (ironically to diversify the conversation with some female speakers). Providing a running commentary as he went, Mr. Beast eliminated speakers one by one, using the slang term “yote” to connote removal. “I’m gonna yote you, Colin, thanks for coming up.”
Arriving at Farokh, Mr. Beast commented, “Sorry I’m bad with names, I’m going to yote you as well.”
Now admittedly, Mr. Beast was being dickish here, acting dismissively in a very public way toward a fan. He could have handled it better. At the very least, he might have given Farokh a chance to speak before clearing the stage. (Then again, how much can we expect from a guy named Mr. Beast?)
Farokh, for his part, was quite justifiably miffed and, I think we can safely say, a bit humiliated. Here’s the point where I might have liked to advise him that this kind of experience, while shitty and uncomfortable, is as much a part of life as hemorrhoids or Steve Bannon. There’s always some asshole with power willing to use it against you.
It sucks, Farokh, I get it. But what can you do? Shake it off. Move on with your day.
Alas, this is not the way of Gen Z. Especially on the identitarian left. Especially when your microaggressive nemesis is of the cisgender white male variety. For a guy like Farokh, in times like these, why take shit from a white dude?
And so, Farokh took to Twitter with...(can you guess?)... an accusation of racism.
Yeah, but the interesting thing is, that’s NOT what he said “word for word.” Perhaps Farokh was under the impression that no recordings exist of rooms on Clubhouse, so theoretically you can make up any bullshit you want in recounting events.
He may thus have been surprised when, about an hour later, someone posted an actual recording of the inciting incident on twitter. You can watch it here.
As the tape clearly shows, Mr. Beast did not, in fact, say “I can’t spell your name so I’m going to yote you out.” He actually said, “Sorry I’m really bad with names, I’m going to yote you as well.”
Whereas Farokh’s characterization would indicate that Mr. Beast singled him out and ejected him from the stage directly because he had a foreign-sounding name, in reality Mr. Beast was removing multiple people, the others being white males. Rather than attempt to pronounce Farokh’s name he paused and apologized for being bad with names in the process of removing him, which he was already intending to do, regardless of the name on the screen.
Call it what it is! Ok, let’s: it’s a lie. A false accusation born of a selfish tantrum. Maybe a skilled play for attention by a guy with social media chops. There are so many ways one could describe what happened here, but racism is nowhere among them.
Here it is interesting to note that, as of this writing, several days after the event, and after Farokh’s account has been definitively proven false, he still has not removed the dishonest tweets that kicked off this fiasco in the first place.
This includes the one that quotes Mr. Beast “WORD FOR WORD” even though we now know the quote is fictitious.
Key takeaway: the identitarian left is thoroughly unconcerned with facts. Willfully unmoored from reality. Farokh was exposed as fraudulent, yet feels no shame, and fears no pushback, from anyone in his own camp.
False accusation? Pernicious lies? Crude sham?
They. Don’t. Care.
And so, when Farokh started a new room on Clubhouse late that night, a wave of committed identitarians answered the call. The room was titled “Racism on Clubhouse: What’s the solution?” but in truth there was not much talk of solutions, unless by “solution” you mean “idiots ranting hysterically about things that don’t exist” or maybe “Farokh vainly massaging his ego by mugging for sympathy and counting how many people he could get into the room” (he got thousands).
Included below is an account of typical conversation in the room. Unlike Farokh I will not claim that these are “word for word” quotes, though in some cases they are. Also unlike Farokh, however, my account is extremely accurate in spirit, tone, and meaning. This may be hard to believe for anyone who has not listened directly to the radical identitarian left, but rest assured that any farcical elements you detect are not author embellishments but in fact were embedded in the event itself:
IDENTITY WARRIOR (IW) #1: “Farokh, how can we support you?!”
FAROKH (sounding shaken, as if he had experienced some kind of traumatic event, which by the way he had NOT): “Guys! This is terrible! My body is literally shaking. Mr. Beast cannot get away with this. We must end racism in the world right now!”
IW #1: “How can we support you, Farokh?!”
SUPER SUPPORTIVE WHITE LIBERAL MALE “ALLY” tries to speak, but simply cannot get the words out. He is overcome with emotion. But it’s weirdly performative - reminiscent of North Koreans reacting to bad news about Dear Leader with over-the-top displays of anguish.
(No, seriously. A lot like that.)
FAROKH : “I will not stand for this! Racism must end TODAY!!!”
RICH WHITE FEMALE “ALLY” FROM MALIBU: “I am so, so sorry Farokh.”
(Note: Click here for a picture of Farokh wearing $2000 Dior shoes.)
IW #1: “HOW CAN WE SUPPORT YOU!!!”
IW #2: “I myself grew up with an ethnic-sounding name that is difficult to pronounce. Throughout my life, white friends and co-workers have asked me repeatedly if I have a nickname they can call me. The disrespect! Unable or unwilling to learn the true pronunciation of my ethnic name! (Sing-songy voice:) This. Is. White. Su-prem-a-cy! I have developed such racial battle fatigue from a lifetime of having my name mispronounced and disrespected. It’s just exhausting. These are the kinds of microaggressions that only people of color have to deal with!!”
(I thought of my childhood friend Peter Mihavlowitz, who was alternately nicknamed “Mihavloshits” or “Mihavlotits” and had his name butchered daily. Somehow he managed to survive the terrible ordeal and now sells roofing supplies on Long Island.)
FAROKH: “Guys! Right now as we speak a new room is popping up from some friends of Mr. Beast! Racist white guys telling lies about me! We cannot stand for this!”
(The room was titled “Mr. Beast falsely accused of racism.” I popped over to see if perhaps this really was a room full of racist brutes. Actually, no, pretty thoughtful guys. Brought a lot of people of color onto the stage, including some Farokh supporters, for a measured and wide-ranging conversation about race. Does it sound like I’m being one-sided here? If so, that’s most likely because one side was clearly right and the other side was clearly wrong. Speaking of which, now back to the Farokh room:)
IW #1: “Why is nobody answering me! I keep asking how we can support Farokh and I’m getting completely ignored! I am sick and tired of being disrespected as a black woman!”
(Apparently this woman was not being properly supported in her endeavors to support Farokh.)
IW #3: “Yeah, Farokh! I’m starting to wonder, why is it that when some Asian brown guy experiences racism he gets a thousand people in a room talking about it? But when a black woman has a problem with white supremacy, which happens every day, nobody seems to care about THAT!”
FAROKH: “Wait a minute, what? But...you know...racism, right?”
Annnnd, here’s where it starts to turn...the inevitable devolution into an intersectional poop storm. Here’s what you must know: these people are fucking a-grieeeved, and they all occupy their unique spots in the chain of command. There are very fine gradations between ranks, and one must always know their place.
Actual example from Clubhouse: “As a brown trans woman I experience oppression every day, but I must acknowledge the space of privilege I hold over black trans women.”
(If I were in college right now I’d invent a drinking game where everyone must drink whenever someone uses the word “space” on Clubhouse. We’d all be in a very drunk “space” by mid-morning.)
Actually, in all sincerity, Clubhouse is bursting with fantastically brilliant and impressive multicultural people of all kinds. People of color came into the app early in large numbers, they helped build the ecosystem, and their impact was nothing short of tremendous. Truly. One of the great benefits of Clubhouse is the opportunity to listen and interact with people who come from places and points and view extremely divergent from my own. I am much better for it.
That said, there is a subset of this community on the app, I have referred to them above as Identity Warriors (IWs), that sometimes derail important and worthwhile conversations. Most users on Clubhouse lie somewhere on the continuum between extremely wary and utterly terrified of the IWs. The IWs know this. They know they have tremendous power to blow shit up any time they want with an accusation of racism. Armies of likeminded people of color and their (mostly rich) white “allies” are always a tweet away, awaiting mobilization.
As such, the most common posture toward the IWs is one of genuflection. Watching someone moderate a room when the IWs come in and decide to throw their weight around is like watching Jeremy Renner trying to defuse a bomb in “The Hurt Locker.”
Of course we have a terrible history of racism in this country that has not been properly reckoned with. Of course people of color (and to an even greater degree their ancestors) have suffered unjustly. But bad behavior is bad behavior. Some IWs are just bullies, motivated not by social progress but by the personal emotional high of wielding power in any given interaction.
And so it was that, the following day, Farokh found himself under interrogation in a new Clubhouse room titled, “The problem with Farokh’s anti-racism chats.” The conversation went something like this (again: farcical elements not embellished):
IW #1: “Just because somebody experiences racism doesn’t mean they can’t be promoting the same kind of racist elements that disempowered them in the first place.”
FAROKH: “Well --”
IW #2: “Stop talking! Listen to black women!”
IW #3: “That’s the problem, Farokh! You’ve been centering yourself and not honoring black women!”
IW #1: “Being silenced repeatedly, rudely, and unjustifiably has triggered a trauma response in many of your Clubhouse peeps, Farokh. I hope you can de-center yourself long enough to give that some serious fucking consideration.”
MALE ALLY: “Farokh never brings black moderators onto the stage in his rooms…”
FAROKH: “But --”
IW #1: “Farokh! DE-CENTER YOURSELF!!!”
One could argue that the IWs in that room lorded more power over Farokh and treated him with more intentional disrespect than Mr. Beast or his supporters ever did. There is much talk of humanism and compassion in these circles, but it’s hardly universal. Certain groups present themselves as constantly under attack from microaggressions, but they dish them out with relish.
It’s understandable that people who have felt the sting of injustice should become so fixated on petty shows of personal power, but that doesn’t make it productive or enlightened or morally persuasive. Quite the contrary. I somehow doubt that when the great civil rights activists of the past were putting their lives on the line in pursuit of freedom they longed for the day where a luxury blogger in $2000 loafers could don the cloak of racial grievance to gain the upper hand in a bullshit online spat.
But there was Farokh, emerging undaunted even after his lengthy inquisition, marching onward, his sights set firmly on the promised land: “Guys, I have to go, I’m trying to get in touch with the founders, we must end racism on this platform.”
Hum a few bars of “We Shall Overcome” for Farokh. What a humanitarian.