comScore

Sacha Baron Cohen Attacks Stephen Miller, Mark Zuckerberg, Alex Jones in ADL Speech

Comedian and Borat star Sacha Baron Cohen called out Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, President Donald Trump, White House senior adviser Stephen Miller, Breitbart News, and InfoWars founder Alex Jones during his award acceptance speech at the ADL Never is Now summit on Thursday, where he blamed social networks and the internet for the rise of hate and violence.

Baron Cohen opened his speech by attacking President Trump’s senior adviser Stephen Miller.

“Thank you, ADL, for this recognition and your work in fighting racism, hate and bigotry,” the comedian declared. “And to be clear, when I say ‘racism, hate and bigotry’ I’m not referring to the names of Stephen Miller’s Labradoodles.”

“Today, around the world, demagogues appeal to our worst instincts. Conspiracy theories, once confined to the fringe, are going mainstream. It’s as if the age of reason, the era of evidential argument, is ending, and now knowledge is increasingly delegitimized and scientific consensus is dismissed,” Baron Cohen expressed. “Democracy, which depends on shared truths, is in retreat, and autocracy, which depends on shared lies, is on the march. Hate crimes are surging, as are murderous attacks on religious and ethnic minorities. Now what do all these dangerous trends have in common? I’m just a comedian, an actor, I’m not a scholar, but one thing is pretty clear to me: all this hate and violence is being facilitated by a handful of internet companies that amount to the greatest propaganda machine in history.”

“Facebook, YouTube, Google, Twitter, and others, they reach billions of people. The algorithms these platforms depend on deliberately amplify the type of content that keeps users engaged. Stories that appeal to our baser instincts and that trigger outrage and fear. It’s why YouTube recommended videos by the conspiracist Alex Jones billions of times,” he continued. “It’s why fake news outperforms real news, because studies show that lies spread faster than truth, and its no surprise that the greatest propaganda machine in history has spread the oldest conspiracy theory in history. The lie that Jews are somehow dangerous. As one headline put it, ‘Just think what Goebbels could have done with Facebook.’ On the internet, everything can appear equally legitimate.”

Baron Cohen proclaimed, “Breitbart resembles the BBC, the fictitious Protocols of the Elders of Zion look as valid as an ADL report, and the rantings of a lunatic seem as credible as the findings of a Nobel Prize winner. We have lost, it seems, a shared sense of basic facts upon which democracy depends.”

“When, thanks to social media, conspiracies take hold, it is easier for hate groups to recruit, easier for foreign intelligence agencies to interfere in our elections, and easier for a country like Myanmar to commit genocide against the Rohingya,” Baron Cohen remarked, adding, “British voters will go to the polls while online conspiracists promote the despicable theory of the Great Replacement, that white Christians are being deliberately replaced by Muslim immigrants. Americans will vote for president while trolls and bots perpetuate the disgusting lie of a Hispanic invasion. And after years of YouTube videos calling climate change a hoax, the United States is on track a year from now to formally withdraw from the Paris Accords.”

After calling for a change in how the internet operates, Baron Cohen claimed, “This is not about limiting anyone’s free speech. This is about giving people, including some of the most reprehensible people on earth, the biggest platform in history to reach a third of the planet.”

“Freedom of speech is not freedom of reach. Sadly, there will always be racists, misogynists, anti-Semites and child abusers. But I think we could all agree that we should not be giving bigots and pedophiles a free platform to amplify their views and target their victims,” he explained, claiming, “If Facebook were around in the 1930s, it would have allowed Hitler to post 30-second ads on his ‘solution’ to the ‘Jewish problem.’”

Watch above, via the ADL.

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]

Filed Under: