Capturing Hate Use Case Study
This report contains text and images about assault and/or acts of violence which may be triggering
Capturing Hate is a project that explores how perpetrator video can be safely and ethically used as a tool for the advancement of transgender people’s rights.
A report released in 2016 by the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) cited a lack of data about trans lives as “one of the greatest policy failures facing the trans movement today.” In an effort to address this dearth of federal data, we sourced and analyzed eyewitness videos of transphobic violence and the viewer engagement with them as a new and arguably more compelling source of information about the prevalence of transphobic violence. We found hundreds of videos made not with the intention of exposing or prosecuting abuse, but rather, content that is captured, shared, and engaged with as entertainment.
HOW WE DID IT
While our goal was to find out whether perpetrator videos such as these could be safely and ethically used as a tool for the advancement of trans people’s rights, we found that a single derogatory search term led to hateful videos on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms. Not infrequently, these videos are surrounded by advertisements from some of the world’s largest and wealthiest corporations, such as Walmart, Applebee’s, Heineken, and the New York Times.
In our analysis, we looked at a relatively small number of these videos, focusing on those that depicted acts of physical violence. What we found was profoundly disturbing. From these mere 329 videos, we documented more than 89 million views, more than 600,000 shares, and more than 500,000 “likes.” Nearly as shocking as their popularity and volume were the videos’ longevity: some were posted more than a decade ago, yet are still being seen, shared, and commented on by large numbers of people.
We partnered with the Trans People of Color Coalition (TPOCC)’s founder Kylar Broadus and the New York City Antiviolence Project (AVP) to help frame the research as well as understanding the findings in the broader context of the movement.
The National LGBTQ Task Force, Immigration Equality, Lambda Legal, and the Center for LGBTQ Studies were our advisors.
WHAT THIS IS
This project is the first in a series of Use Case Studies that document how collections of eyewitness video can be used as a source for powerful storytelling, provide data, and reveal patterns of discrimination and abuse.
Our second Use Case Study, Profiling the Police, we partnered with El Grito de Sunset Park to collect, analyze and preserve over a decade of eyewitness videos of police abuse from Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Together we developed and documented accessible ways to manage large collections of videos as well as explore new methods for telling the story of systemic abuse and impunity.