Nick Conrad’s death threats - but they weren’t meant for him
PUBLISHED: 20:18 04 October 2018 | UPDATED: 20:27 04 October 2018
Nick Conrad reports on the strange experience of being mistaken for a controversial rapper who happens to share his name
A week on from being mistaken for advocating a King Herod style massacre of the innocents, the volley of cross channel objection is dying down.
For those of you who haven’t read this rather odd story, I share my name with an, up until recently, unknown French rapper.
My Parisian based namesake has been causing musical mischief by rapping about the murder of white babies.
Cue an outcry…quite rightly!
Here is the issue, until last week I was the top result on social media when you searched for ‘Nick Conrad.’
Though these provocative and frankly vile lyrics hadn’t been ushered from my lips, I was now getting both barrels of vitriol, in full flowing French from those who had mistaken me for this controversial chap.
It all started last Wednesday.
I was busy so only got a moment to glance at my phone. Twitter and Facebook notifications populated my screen, all in French.
I just thought someone had linked me into one of those annoying message threads.
Wracking my brain to reengage my GCSE modern language skills, all I identified was the odd profanity and a theme of general unhappiness.
Unperturbed, I got on with my day.
Later that evening, whilst watching television, I once again noticed this growing tirade of social media messages.
I now had the intriguing task of wading through a storm of condemnation, still unaware as to the source of the outcry.
Moments later, my friend Malika (who is French) sent me the story about the rapper and, boy oh boy, I understood why people were so upset.
The offending video is called Pendez Les Blancs - which translates as “hang the whites”.
The clip had been viewed thousands of times before being taken down.
In one scene, the rapper and an associate drag a white victim along a pavement and kick him in the head.
In an interview with Le Parisian, Conrad says the video is “fiction” and that he “wanted to reverse the roles of the white man and the black man”.
The previously little-known artist became the top trending topic on Twitter in France on Wednesday.
As has been widely reported in the British and French press, I received a handful of ‘death threats’ or menacing messages – all clearly not really intended for me. Nearly all retracted their comments and profusely apologised with rather sweet responses when their mistake was pointed out.
In honesty, I found the whole episode rather amusing and at no point felt my security or that of my family was being threatened.
I only reported the incident to the Police on the request of the BBC who I suspect put a premium on their broadcaster’s security.
I do see the amusing side of all this. However, people must be far more careful before they post online.
I reasoned that any wouldbe assassin might realise their mistake before the ferry had docked at Dover, however the English Channel gave any threat a geographical gloss.
If the threats were originating from the UK, I might not have found the humorous side to this.
It is my belief that people are getting away with writing the most vitriolic, aggressive, untruthful and provocative content on social media and it’s not being sufficiently challenged.
Surely it is the responsibility of the Internet giants, who make vast sums out of their social media platforms, to do more?
The problem is festering, like an ugly growth in desperate need of a lance.
How to prick that boil? Any proposed solution seems to be stifled by critics claiming it’s unworkable or wishing to protect ‘freedom of speech.’
The other issue is that these warriors care little for context. Spurred on by an intoxicating mixture of negativity and a desire to degenerate others, liberated by a lack of regulation and recourse, the Keyboard Warrior’s weapon is simply hatred and the internet.
However repulsive someone’s view is, there are ways to tackle them, without resorting to intimidation and threats.
I am more interested in chocolate wrappers than the music variety, however I seem intrinsically linked, albeit only online, to my French namesake. Let’s hope he raps ‘nicely’ in future. I love visiting France but might be a bit more sheepish about giving my name when I visit in a few weeks’ time!