A group called FCKH8.com has created a new video featuring girls as young as 6-years-old repeating the F-word over and over, ostensibly, to raise awareness of gender inequality.
According to the creators of the clip, “these adorably articulate little ladies in sparkling tiaras turn thewith words and statistics society should find shocking such as ‘payinequality’ and ‘rape.'” Note that this clip is definitely not safe for work.
FCKH8.com isn’t just another 501(c)(3) seeking attention for progressive causes. It’s a company. In fact, it’s a T-shirt company. In other words, the video of the cursing 6-year-olds is really an advertisement.
The company’s about page reads, “FCKH8.com is a for-profit T-shirt company with an activist heart and apassionate social change mission: arming thousands of people withpro-LGBT equality, anti-racism and anti-sexism T-shirts that act as ‘mini-billboards’ for change.”
The video has already been viewed more than half a million times thanks largely to Upworthy, the progressive video sharing site. Upworthy’s Angie Aker, who is apparently a single mom, pronounced it a “fine piece of work” without mentioning that it’s an advertisement for a for-profit T-shirt company.
Upworthy apparently did get some blow-back on the clip, not because of the content but because of a previous controversy involving FCKH8.com. There is now a disclaimer on the site saying, “FCKH8 is definitely a far-from-perfect organization, and boy, do weshare some of the concerns our audience might have with the organizationitself regarding its practices.”
That a reference to controversy surrounding a similar ad the group released last month featuring black children from Ferguson, MO reading a script about racism. The clip became controversial when some people noticed it was connected to a for profit site. A news site called ColorLines accused the group of trying to profit off “black death” and racism. Another blogger called the company “accidentally racist” and “oblivious.”
In addition, a parent of two of the children in the Ferguson clip later complained that FCKH8.com had only paid her kids about $50 even after the clip went viral and, presumably, sold a lot of T-shirts. Luke Montgomery, who produced the clip, told the Riverfront Times the criticism made him sad and added, “It hasn’t even broken even in terms of production costs.”
As for the video of cursing kids, many of the comments on the group’s Vimeo page seem to be critical of the clip. Is there still a line between activism and for-profit advertising? FCKH8.com seems determined to find out.
Update: The company had two versions of this clip on Vimeo. At some point they deleted one clip from Vimeo entirely and switched to a new one. They then switched to the new clip on their own site. I switched out the video above as well. Darleen Click suggests this may have been an attempt to rid themselves of all the negative comments that were accumulating on the Vimeo page.