A new social media challenge started just a few days ago is already generating a storm of online outrage — but was that the whole point? Is the “challenge” a legitimate political protest, or just “trolling,” in other words, a deliberate attempt to provoke a reaction?
As you’ll see from the video above, reportedly posted by a woman named Erica Walker — the woman in the video — on her own Facebook page, the “Eric Sheppard Challenge” is pretty simple. It involves taking an American flag and stomping on it.
Check out the video, above. Here are some other photos posted on various Instagram and other social media outlets, showing others taking their own version of the “challenge.” Be warned, however, the video contains profanity as well as flag stomping and could be considered offensive — though that may be the whole point.
Erica Walker formerly worked for CBS-owned Atlanta, Georgia, radio station V-103, but left the station before posting the video. Her Facebook page appears to have since been deleted.
Some of the reactions to the video include comments such as, “Would love to drop her off in the middle of Afghanistan or leave her with ISIS.”
And, “Yeah disrespect the flag of the men and women who fought to keep you alive just so your fat a** can receive a welfare check.”
Or, “A stupid b***h, you don’t like America? Leave you ignorant slut. Ungrateful dumb b***h.”
To cite just a few of the milder examples.
So what’s the point here? Well, do you remember a story from April 17 that came out of Georgia’s Valdosta State University, in which a group of protesters placed an American flag on the ground and stomped on it? The story became national news not so much because of the what the students did to the flag as much as for what a former Playboy model — who once posed nude covered only in a flag herself — did, “rescuing” the flag from the protesters.
One of those protesters, Eric Sheppard, allegedly came to campus with a gun in his backpack. Sheppard has since disappeared, and his attorneys say that he is hiding because of a barrage of threats against his life.
The “Eric Sheppard Challenge,” according to the video, is meant to support the activist who remains on the lam. His own father has reportedly begged him to turn himself over to law enforcement. But the new social media challenge is intended to show support for Sheppard, and is coupled with a fundraising effort for his defense, assuming he finally surrenders.