TikToker Mizzy faces 5 months in jail, but has he already been sentenced as a criminal by media not for his actions – but for the colour of his skin?
Controversial TikTok user Mizzy, who’s real name is Bacari-Bronze O’ Garro, was recently sentenced to five months in a young offenders’ institution. This sentence was carried out after Mizzy breached a Criminal Behaviour Order (CBO) forbidding him from posting to social media.
Whilst many users have celebrated the end to this TikToker’s reign of terror, it’s fair to wonder if Mizzy has been judged solely on his abhorrent behaviour or whether the fact he is a young Black man has encouraged an aggressive public persecution by certain media outlets.
Over the short period Mizzy has spent trending on the social media platforms he has committed acts of antisemitism, kidnapped animals, broken into strangers’ homes and instigated assaults. This resulted in the received 18-week sentence by Judge Matthew Bone who deemed Mizzy’s pranks unfunny and accused the TikTok creator of pursuing fame at the expense of others:
“Your further offending was motivated by your desire to be famous. Your actions caused innocent members of the public significant harm and distress. You claimed on national television the law was weak. Put bluntly, your pranks are not funny.”
Mizzy had previously pleaded guilty to violating a community protection notice in May when he was issued with a CBO at the age of eighteen. The order explicitly prohibited him from trespassing into private properties, uploading content on various social media platforms without consent, and even attending specific locations.
While it has been alleged that Mizzy had a large following, the accounts of the former notorious TikTok prankster have been removed leaving very little in the way of knowing the exact number of his following.
It is very difficult in fact to determine if the TikToker had any popularity at all outside an exceedingly minute number of comments. There are a few accounts online showing support for Mizzy, mainly through reposting old photos and videos. These posts are met with an overwhelming number of negative comments sharing their disapproval of Mizzy’s actions and condemning the TikToker for his actions.
Some comments target Mizzy for his skin colour – comments such as ‘Where’s his father?’, ‘He’ll only react in a positive way to bananas – it works all the time’ and ‘This Guy act from where he belong third world obviously Africa…Asia…England forget to colonies this guy because he turn up in uk for food or universal credit…’
Mizzy’s appearance on both Piers Morgan and Andre Walker was met with a stream of abuse to which the youth replied by laughing, speaking over the hosts and accusing the media of targeting him due to his ethnicity.
The iron of the youth’s statement is he is both right and wrong – wrong because Mizzy’s actions have earned fair judgement and criticism, right because being a young person of colour presents him as an easy target for well-trained TV presenters such as Morgan and Walker to lecturer Mizzy and, when he inevitably responds with hostility, to treat him with the same in return.
This has also been noted by Kelechi Ofar of iNews who recognises Mizzy is a criminal but also an easy target for racism;
‘Reprimanding an immature prankster – of which there are countless others on TikTok, of all races – for being an… immature prankster is hardly newsworthy. But when that prankster hasn’t had media training and is Black, young, outspoken and shameless, it presents an opportunity not just for a cheap “gotcha” moment, but to let racist viewers vicariously experience the thrill of furiously lambasting Black people like him.’
Mizzy is a criminal. However, he has been unfairly judged by a portion of the public as a black man. Mizzy has committed crimes and should be treated accordingly and fairly – the intent of his time in custody should be rehabilitation. Though prison is unlikely to do this to Bacari-Bronze O’Garro. Nearly half of all Black youths who enter prison become re-offenders.
It’s a system which creates and propagates myths of ethnic minorities as criminals. We won’t stop O’Garro or the next Mizzy from rising to the spotlight through treating them as criminals. O’Garro is a youth and like all youths he’s got the folly of his short years to lead him into stupid decisions. Shouldn’t we as a society hold ourselves equally to blame for his creation? We gave him his background, his treatment as a Black man – then we gave him a platform. O’Garro is a lamb to slaughter, his sentencing embedding another reason for racists to feel riled and hatred to feel justified.