In October, Gavin McInnes, self-styled bad boy journalist and co-founder of the provocative magazine Vice (you know, the classy folks who set up Dennis Rodman to travel to North Korea and play b-ball with dictator Kim Jong-un) made headlines when he proclaimed, "People would be happier if women stopped pretending to be men." Now, he's making a spotlight grab again by posting an ostensibly comedic video of brawling with his infant son.
The video opens with McInnes exhorting dads not to be scared of babies because "there are a lot of moves you can do to kick a baby's a**." It then shows him tossing the baby onto a bed, flipping him over, and tackling him. It also shows McInnes pretending to choke him. In the video, McInnes also cuddles his son and tickles him, causing an explosive fit of giggles. The baby does not appear to be hurt at any point during the filming, though looks at the camera nervously. It closes with McGinnes wearing an eye bandage because he says his son scratched his cornea.
Yes, "How to Fight a Baby" is getting a lot of attention--the clip has been viewed over half a million times since McGinnes uploaded it to YouTube on Wednesday. Some viewers are calling it "cute" and "hilarious" and others have described it as disturbing and irresponsible. "[Department of Family and Chidren Services] needs to watch this video and I am sure the child would be taken away from this idiot and his idiot wife," wrote commentor on YouTube. "Yes, I know they're just playing…but it still doesn't make it any less unsettling to see a baby being tossed and thrown; no matter how safe he is (it's a baby, not a toy)," said another.
A well-known child safety expert and author on the topic (who preferred not to have her name used because she's been harassed on social media) tells Yahoo Shine that she feels the video should be taken down from YouTube immediately. "I find it extremely disturbing." She adds that not only is throwing and flipping an infant highly dangerous--even on a bed covered with pillows--she's deeply worried that a copy cat might push the mock-violent antics one step further. The American Humane Association warns that, although rare, tossing and playing too roughly with infants can cause shaken baby syndrome, and result in brain damage.
Babies do funny stuff--and there are millions of YouTube videos to prove that. McGinnes might have pulled of this stunt without raising eyebrows if he had scaled back on the WWF-style body slamming and faux strangulation. But, then he wouldn't have achieved his goal: pissing some people off so he could deride them for being humorless losers and causing a big stink in the media (yep, he got me on both counts). On Sunday, McGinnes took a break from saving the world from brutal tots to critique his favorite target, feminists, when he tweeted:
At least he was picking on someone his own size.