By Nick BeJeaux
“The fight lasted about 20 minutes and there were cops about 100 yards away. I have no idea why they didn’t stop it.”
You know you’ve hit it big when you become a meme on Reddit, which is what happened to Baton Rouge resident Oriskany Broome, A.K.A When White People Fight Guy, after he posted a video selfie last week with a frat boy sissy fight going on in the background.
Broome, a dance instructor and choreographer at Jean Leigh Academy of Dance in Denham Springs, was hanging with friends at the Parade Grounds during the lead up to LSU’s game with ULM. It was about as quiet as the Parade Grounds could be on game day – until they decided to leave.
“We were walking back to my car and a guy bumped into us,” said Broome. “We looked to see where he was running to and we saw the fight starting.”
When he saw the fight break out, he decided to record the scuffle – complete with really effective facial commentary. However, after uploading the video, the Internet exploded. The video been featured on Huffington Post, E! Online, Mashable, Reddit, and Gawker, and has even spawned parodies, a phenomenon reported in the New York Daily News.
Broome hoped the videos would get attention – he didn’t expect this much – but not because he wanted YouTube views or Instagram likes.
“A the point where I took the video, the fight had been going on for 15 minutes or so,” he said, “and the reason why I started recording was because I was in disbelief it had gone on for as long as it did. I put it up on Instagram to show my disdain for the situation. The fight lasted about 20 minutes and there were cops about 100 yards away. I have no idea why they didn’t stop it.”
According to Broome, the cops in the area told others that complained about the fight that they weren’t hurting anyone (after watching the “fight” several times, that assertion may be actually true), they didn’t have any weapons and therefore were not a threat. After the video gained traction on YouTube, Broome, somewhat prophetically, called out the Internet for not taking what he recorded seriously.
“This happens every home game, every weekend, every year,” he said in a Facebook post. “They know how crazy it gets out there and the city police needs to prepare for this or stop tailgating. They put more precautions on potential drug stings than actual, documented violence! These are thugs, this is a gang – an organization causing a disturbance in public with violence at the root of it all. But that video will yield no arrests, no questioning, it will just be ‘hilarious’ and ‘video of the week.’ It’s just further empowering these morons to do it again next home game.”
Broome thinks the brawl and, specifically, the lack of police response to it is indicative of a larger problem the U.S. has with violence and perceptions of violence. While he didn’t intend to bring up the subject of race in the video, in his interview with DIG, he wondered how different the fight would have been if some or all of the brawlers were black.
“It probably would have been a five minute thing – tops – instead of thirty minutes; the cops would have gotten involved then, I’m sure,” he said.
Gameday violence isn’t exactly rare – hours after Broome’s video was taken, two people were shot behind a Tigerland bar at 3 a.m. following LSU’s win over UL-Monroe; brawls like the one Broome recorded happen almost every game day.
“Stuff like that happens there because they never do anything about it when it happens there,” said Broome. “They’re handed over to the dean and because these kids are in organizations, they have to have their privileges taken away before they can be reprimanded. They have so many layers of discipline they start to think they’re untouchable.”
Admittedly, Broome is enjoying his newfound fame as When White People Fight Guy – if only to spread his anti-violence message behind the video.
“I wanted this to be serious, but some people found it humorous and I guess I kinda let it ride that wave to reach more people,” he said. “Initially, it was to bring attention to the fact that there’s nothing being done about this. That fight went on for 15 to 20 minutes and within 10 seconds they kicked that dude in the face. You could literally kill someone in half that time.”