Why Is the LGBT Community Outraged at the CarryMinati “Roast”?

Pop Culture

Why Is the LGBT Community Outraged at the CarryMinati “Roast”?

Illustration: Robin Chakraborty

It’s been a week since a “roast” video uploaded by popular YouTuber CarryMinati (Ajey Nagar) caught the attention of the offline world, and the controversy has since refused to die down.

A week after his video was deleted from YouTube, after multiple users reported it for homophobic slurs, CarryMinati uploaded another video on Sunday, in which he says he doesn’t fully understand why he had been on the receiving end of so much flak. The 20-year-old insists that his comments were lost in translation and taken out of context.

Titled “Stop Making Assumptions”, the YouTuber’s latest video had 24 million views by Monday morning, and has once again caught the attention of his critics, who had said that his “roast” smacked of tone-deafness, bigotry and had homophobic undertones.

YouTube’s policies do not allow content that bullies, harasses or promotes hatred based on sexual orientation, physical traits, religion, among others.

The now deleted video, which at one point was touted as the most-viewed non-music video by an Indian creator, with over a crore likes, has been met with an unwavering wall of support online, which tweeted under the hashtag “JusticeForCarry”.

But for others, it was glaringly obvious that “CarryMinati” had ignored the first rule of comedy — to always punch up — and ended up coming across as a bully.

One statement from his original video, in particular, had irked members of the LGBT community. “Mithai ki dukaan pe 200 rupaye me bik jaayga…” the YouTuber had said, in comments directed at popular TikTok user Amir Siddiqui. The term “mithai” is apparently used derogatorily to refer to gay people.

Siddiqui later released a video calling out cyberbullying. He claimed that a number of YouTubers make roast videos about women artists, which, he says, leads to the women receiving rape threats and offensive messages on various social media channels.

Several members of the LGBT community, including the author of this Medium post, have also accused CarryMinati of normalising such slurs for his millions of young and impressionable followers. These slurs are especially detrimental, they argued, when they target a community that already has high rates of self-harm, and suicide.

In his latest appeal, CarryMinati claimed his comment was taken out of context and that he was a victim of bad translation. He said the day his video was taken down was a “frustrating” one, but that he had accepted that the video wouldn’t be restored.

The next day, he had put out a post thanking his supporters for standing by him.

Even as the coronavirus pandemic rages on in the backdrop, the YouTuber’s latest video is bound to spark more conversation, criticism, calls for boycott, and, of course… memes. Let’s just hope they keep it civil this time.