(November 17, 2023 / JNS) More than 30 Jewish influencers and celebrities participated in a video call with Tiktok executives, urging them to combat the scourge of antisemitism on the platform.
Adam Presser, TikTok’s head of operations, and Seth Melnick, the company’s global head of user operations convened the meeting with big names including Sacha Baron Cohen, Debra Messing and Amy Schumer.
Cohen said “shame on you” to executives, demanding that they “flip a switch” to stop the flow of hate. “What is happening at TikTok is it is creating the biggest antisemitic movement since the Nazis,” he noted.
Melnik and Presser disputed that ending bigotry on the platform could be done with the ease of pushing a button.
Baron Cohen pointed out that indoctrination starts young, alluding to the fact that TikTok is the most popular social platform for kids, according to studies across the board.
“If you think back to October 7, the reason why Hamas were able to behead young people and rape women was they were fed images from when they were small kids that led them to hate,” Cohen said.
He added: “What is happening at TikTok is it is creating the biggest antisemitic movement since the Nazis,”
When Messing urged TikTok to stop the use of the Israel-eliminationist phrase, “From the river to the sea,” she received pushback from the executives, who claimed that was open to interpretation.
Presser said TikTok’s “approach up until Oct. 7 (and continuing today), has been that for instances where people use the phrase where it’s not clear, where someone is just using it casually, that has been considered acceptable speech.”
This suggestion of “casual” use of the phrase drew objections. Messing urged TikTok to reconsider its position.
“It is much more responsible to bar it at this juncture than to say, ‘Oh, well, some people, they use it in a different way than it actually was created to mean,’ ” said the former “Will and Grace” star. “I understand that you are in a very, very difficult and complicated place, but you also are the main platform for the dissemination of Jew hate.”