Influencers Capitalize on the Homeless
Food is being given to desperate people in a disturbing trend that enriches social media influencers and humiliates recipients, all for the price of a bag of Cheetos.
Nasty Naz has 22 million followers on TikTok. Some of his homeless exploitation videos have millions of views and he has 500 million “likes.” His press releases suggest he is a “credible” celebrity.
Nasty Naz doesn’t attempt to respect privacy by blocking out people’s faces in the same way license plates are now easily blurred on TikTok and elsewhere. Filming adults on a public street is not against the law but that doesn’t make it right or civil. Naz demands complete servility in exchange for one meal. His reward - millions of views translated into thousands of dollars in ad revenue. No attempt to follow up on his subjects or kick them back some of the cash or to examine the system that would force so many into a life of precarity and hunger.
DISCLOSURE: I have used images of housing-challenged people (what is the correct term, anyway? How about - victims of capitalism’s predatory, ruthless treatment of the underclass?) on the cover of newspapers and elsewhere that is exploitation of sorts but filming desperate people as you give them food and showing their faces during their lowest moments is inhumane.
A press release disguised as news (Nasty Naz: Naz Saleh’s Journey in Building His Reputable Brand) is floating around that says “Nasty Naz was working seven days a week, twelve hours a day gaining 1 billion views on over 60 videos of himself helping the homeless.”
“Nasty Naz video helping a homeless man” is a top TikTok video with over 26 million views. In the clip an elderly African American man acts completely servile in exchange for a gallon of water, a sandwich and a bag of Cheetos. This guy should be getting a revenue share from Naz. Facial recognition tech could identify him instantly. A dystopic scenario that is our current privacy and humanity-destroying reality but that could enable the victims of Nasty Naz to force him to cut them in on the action.
NastyNaz 🇾🇪 · 2020-1-2
😞 He Was Watching Him Eat , While He Was Hungry! So I Invited Him In And Gave Him Food 🙏❤️ He Was HAPPY 😍 #foryou #give #homeless @itsavage
TikTok is currently paying around $1,000 in ad revenue share for a million views which means that Nasty Naz spent ten bucks to feed someone in exchange for their public humiliation and made over $26,000 in the process on this one video alone. Sounds about right for our current age of extreme wealth disparity where tech bros with millions in stock options step over homeless people on the way to work in their brand new eco-certified office towers. Or they work from home - because they have … homes.
The Nasty Naz TikToks that are not about degrading and humiliating the down and out are sort of charming but if Naz comes from a place of youthful ignorance and innocence and good faith with his homelessploitation videos why aren’t any of his fans calling him out and asking him to step up? Or does anyone care?
Mutual Aid in Pasta Form
Nirvana Wok’s latest microdonation was six 28 oz. containers for the Tiny House Village.
Total cost for this meal would be $2 for the pasta, $5 for the cheese and a dollar for the containers so approximately $1.33 per (large) serving. That doesn’t include transportation or labor.
Total influencer ad revenue and TikTok fame for Nirvana Wok: zero. Total sense of entitled Seattle Prius-driving Ed Begley Jr. level of self satisfaction for the relatively privileged owner of Nirvana Wok LLC: 100 percent.
Nirvana Wok packs meals in what are known as t-shirt bags - the same to-go bags every restaurant uses. And we have fancy stickers, but the truth is Nirvana Wok right now is just some guy cooking small batches of food in his back yard. The stickers might make people feel like the food is from a “real” restaurant. People who are hungry don’t care.
Used Tillamook cheddar, mozzarella, gouda, cream cheese, milk and butter for the mac. No garlic this time but added a tiny pinch of MSG. Included with the delivery were some ramekins containing fresh mint, lemon thyme and dill plus crushed Zapp’s New Orleans kettle style Evil Eye potato chips as toppings.
Zapp’s is one of many regional potato chip companies to be bought out by a conglomerate, in this case Utz Brands, which started out as a regional potato chip company - one of dozens located in Pennsylvania. Utz is tiny compared to Frito-Lay, which merged with PepsiCo in 1965 and dominates the market.
DISCLOSURE: Zapp’s Evil Eye potato chips contain the food coloring FD&C Red 40 Lake - a dye made from petroleum. It’s not the worst - the European Union approves it for use in food. It’s also not the best - known to cause allergies and migraine.
In a better world Zapp’s chips would use only natural food coloring that is not made from petroleum because the fossil fuel industry will be nationalized and in the process of being shut down. We are a long way away from that scenario because what some call end-stage capitalism is actually peak capitalism. The robber barons are richer and more powerful than at any time in human history and that is not changing any time soon. Radical change is coming at some point, but, alarmingly, the billionaire class today does not have the same sense of noblesse oblige as the robber barons of yore. They have no plan for what comes next and no solidarity with each other, let alone with the rest of the human race.
Is ecofascism coming? You know - where fascists use the concept of environmentalism to inflict totalitarian control on the population at the expense of human rights and dignity? Or is that already here? In a city where many men and as of late two women are wealthy enough to end homelessness and prolong a revolution by donating what would be a rounding error in their fortunes, or paying their fair share of taxes, why are they not doing so?
Seattle is not the only place where psycho sociopath lizard-people oligarchs are out of control. It’s a global phenomenon. This could end badly, as history has already shown us.
Do these billionaires not get it, or is this the future they want?