Parents speak out after US President shares ‘manipulated’ video of children

The parents of two toddlers featured in a fake video shared by US President Donald Trump have slammed the meme as “hurtful propaganda”.

Michael Cisneros last year filmed his son, who is black, running towards his white friend and the two children embracing in a hug.

The video went viral online and was reported on by CNN, which headlined the story: “These two toddlers are showing us what real-life besties look like”.

But an edited version of the video shared by Mr Trump on Thursday showed Mr Cisneros’s son instead being chased by his friend.

The video, which was created by the Carpe Donktum right-wing meme account, included the captions “Terrified Toddler Runs From Racist Baby” and “Racist Baby Probably a Trump Voter” and urged viewers to report “fake news”.

Mr Cisneros and Dan McKenna told CNNthey were shocked and upset when they saw the footage.

“It was so hurtful to see this. This video of love … I could not believe what we were watching,” Mr Cisneros said.

“It was intentional and it was just disgusting to watch,” he added.

“It’s just terrible that the president of the United States is actually joking with something like this.”

Facebook and Twitter have both removed the video after Mr Cisneros lodged a copyright-infringement claim.

Jukin Media, the viral video licensing firm that represents Mr Cisneros, also demanded the videos be removed.

“Yesterday, a doctored version of a video that belongs to one of Jukin Media’s video partners was posted to Twitter by President Trump,” the company said in a statement.

“Neither the video owner nor Jukin Media gave the president permission to post the video, and after our review, we believe that his unauthorised usage of the content is a clear example of copyright infringement without valid fair use or other defence.”

“Separately, in no way do we support or condone the manipulated video or the message it conveys,” it added.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany defended the video, saying at a press conference: “I think the president was making a satirical point that was quite funny if you go and actually watch the video”.

But Mr McKenna said he and his wife found the video upsetting.

“I thought it was propaganda. I was really aghast immediately when I saw it. It’s not funny,” he told CNN.

“I couldn’t understand how someone would share something like that, to think it was funny. Calling my son racist or what it was. It made me very upset.”

RELATED: Twitter flags Trump’s ‘racist baby’ tweet as manipulated media

A few hours after it was posted, Twitter applied a “manipulated media” warning to Mr Trump’s tweet – the first time it added that specific tag to one of his tweets.

The video had been viewed more than 20 million times before it was pulled down.

Two weeks ago, Twitter and Facebook also pulled a Trump campaign video that included images and video footage of George Floyd as well as protests and riots in the wake of Floyd’s killing by police.

CNN’s public-relations team responded to the faked video on Thursday, saying: “We’ll continue working with facts rather than tweeting fake videos that exploit innocent children. We invite you to do the same. Be better.”

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