A few days ago, I was scrolling through my Instagram feed looking at pictures of stereotypically perfect college students “#livingmybestlife” when I came across a post from Barstool Ducks that made me want to throw my phone through a wall.
The video was sent in from one of their subscribers, and in it, two homeless men were shown sleeping in a covered garbage can while it appears to be raining. The guy filming it, who is likely a student at the University of Oregon, walks over to the garbage can, opens it up and yells at them to “get the f--- out.”
The post has the caption “still not the weirdest thing you’ll see in Eugene,” and I think one commenter, Abby Hope, a senior family & human services major at UO, summed up most of our reactions to this caption when she said that “this situation isn’t “weird”, it’s heartbreaking.” She then went on to say that “Barstool glorifies drunk college boys falling asleep in weird places (when they have dorms, apartments, and literal mansions to live in) and then pokes fun at someone who has nowhere to sleep but literal garbage.”
Looking at this post reminds me just how far removed from the real world some college students are because of the privilege they’ve had growing up. Megan Wilhelm, a GSS crime, law & society major, said that she believes “this video represents the population at UO who have the privilege to make these kinds of jokes. A lot of students come, party and leave without getting educated about the real issues that infect our society.” But she also said that she’s “excited so many people are mad about [the video], as that’s a good way to start educating those who thought it was funny.”
Megan went on to say that she “got upset that people thought the homeless population deserved to be showcased like that.” Since it has been posted, the post has received over 140,000 views, and the homeless man’s face is clearly shown in the video.
This is a human being at their absolute rock bottom. Not only are they completely down on their luck, but they are being broadcast and put on blast about it in front of literally hundreds of thousands of people. Interestingly enough, the face and identity of the person who recorded the video are nowhere to be found, and when I reached out to Barstool for a comment, I received no response.
Another student I interviewed, Rashad Swank, a senior GSS crime, law & society major, said that he felt the video was recorded “for the pleasure of the clear-as-daylight overprivileged,” and that “whoever posted this for barstool is probably too privileged to understand how wrong it is to use this kind of post for entertainment.”
There were some who didn’t see an issue with the video, saying things like, “it’s a safety issue to have them in there.” While I agree that it may be a safety issue, there are better ways to tell them to leave. If the person who recorded this was truly worried about their safety, he wouldn’t have rolled up on them with a camera, opened the dumpster and yelled at them to “get the f--- out.”
This issue isn’t about whether or not they should be allowed to sleep in the dumpster ‒ it’s about how out of touch some college students are with how hard real life can be, and how you should treat your fellow human beings with at least a shred of respect regardless of their economic status. While some people have the privilege of going to school on their parent’s dime and partying, others aren’t so lucky.
When it comes down to it, this really is a case of compassion versus privilege, and by posting this video the people behind Barstool Ducks showed they’re just as privileged and out of touch with the real world as you’d expect them to be. As another commenter, Emily Topping, said, they should really just “go back to posting frat boys drinking themselves to death, thanks.”