Baruch club faces backlash after posting racially charged video
Pre-Recorded Friday Nights, a Baruch College-sanctioned club, posted a controversial video to its Instagram page on March 7, garnering backlash from student leaders of prominent black organizations on campus.
The now-deleted video features PFN President Marwa Mouaki, who said, “Hi, I’m Marwa. I’m the president of PFN. I’m African-American, so I can say n—.” The video stopped playing after Mouaki pronounced the first letter, so Mouaki was not actually taped saying the n-word.
But students feel that the video was done in poor taste. Ceronne Mitchell, the president of the Caribbean Student Association, called it “disgusting.”
“I think it’s outrageous that a student-led organization would think [it’s] appropriate to post something like that. Something so unnecessary and dividing? It’s disgusting,” she said in an interview with a Ticker reporter.
Jaleel Thomas, the president of the Black Student Union, expressed a similar sentiment.
“I am deeply offended by the tone-deaf remark made by PFN’s president in her introduction video. Regardless of the comments’ intended light-hearted nature, casually using or implying the use of any racial slur is an egregious display of responsibility. As leaders we must be held to a higher standard,” he said in a Ticker interview.
The video was meant to be a way for students to get to know the executive board members of PFN.
The caption for the post read, in part, “She’s Algerian which is in North Africa,” referring to Mouaki’s ethnicity.
The post also stressed that the n-word was not actually said in the production of the video and that the members of PFN were “scared” to post it.
Since the post has been deleted, the comments are no longer visible, but a screenshot taken by a Ticker reporter before its deletion confirms that an Instagram user had asked PFN to take down the video.
In a written statement to The Ticker, Mouaki said the following: “I’m someone that personally doesn’t use the N word, and that political perspective is what even inspired the video. I don’t think white people should use the N word. Genuinely, I never said the N word, even when filming.”
She continued, “And I understood that people might feel upset about the video, but it was getting positive reactions, and there were no bad intentions, so I decided to keep it.”
The Ticker has not been able to independently confirm that there were positive reactions to the video.
Mouaki also said that she apologized to CSA but they took to social media to write that they don’t accept her apology.
BSU also posted a similar sentiment on their Instagram story. “I feel like they should be open to having a conversation about it. It’s kind of crazy to me to just attack someone on social media and not be open to talking to them about it,” Mouaki said in her statement to The Ticker.
PFN Vice President Paula Londono and Head of Operations Kristoff Modeste said the club expressed interest in sitting down with BSU and CSA with their OSL adviser to hash out the disagreement.
Londono said in an interview with a Ticker reporter that PFN members “realized that there has to be a better delivery on our part when we create videos that include sensitive topics.”
But she also came to the club’s defense, arguing that “dark humor” is a normal type of comedy.
“And if that's not your type of comedy you move on to the next video, you know,” she said.
The PFN president also said that some people posted about her on their personal media accounts and also tagged the Office of Student Life, who allegedly told Mouaki to “file a report for bullying.”
The Office of Student Life has not responded to a request for comment as of press time.
Modeste, the head of operations for PFN, said that other students after seeing the video tagged Instagram users with massive followings to threaten Mouaki.
One of the Instagram user accounts tagged, @TheShadeRoom, has 15 million followers.
Modeste said that the user who tagged @TheShadeRoom posted “Marwa’s image along with captions threatening the club.”
“I really did not want to upset anyone, and it was satirical,” Mouaki said in the statement. “But I did and I do apologize for that. … I’m upset that this might cause a stigma for PFN, but it is a comedy club, and it was a risky joke. But it wasn’t meant to hurt anyone, and I never said the N word.”
PFN brands itself as a club that produces skits and satirical videos, much like beloved NBC show Saturday Night Live.
Additional reporting by Kiara Greenaway and Heather Shah.