Warning: this story contains language that's not suitable for children.
A B.C. antimask activist who's called for a mass rally today thinks that those who've ordered lockdowns in Canada are "pieces of human excrement".
In a live video on Facebook posted on March 29, Marco Pietro declared that he wants to "get real biblical on those pieces of shit, those assholes, those commie cocksuckers, those evil, sick, twisted, demented, perverted, perverse, deranged, evil, criminal sons of bitches".
He declared that back in biblical times, they would have been "ripped from their houses, ripped from their vehicles".
Not only that, but Pietro said that they would have been "fed to lions, lit on fire, hung up, strung up".
"Am I advocating for violence?" Pietro asks. "I don't think so. I'm just saying what's it going to take and what are you going to do about it?"
Pietro's sick of "playing defence"
According to Pietro, who also led an antimask rally last year through downtown Vancouver, it's "mind-boggling" that politicians and public-health officials are "still walking, talking, breathing".
"Is this really why they took away our guns?" he asked.
Later in the video, he apologizes to Christians for his language, before adding that he's "fucking had it".
The video was posted after Dr. Bonnie Henry ordered the closure of restaurants and indoor church services in response to sharply rising numbers of COVID-19 and the arrival of coronavirus variants in B.C.
"I'm fucking choked, and like I said, you should be choked too," Pietro said. "And if you're more concerned by my language than by your freeedom, then you're the fucking problem and you need to get your head checked.
"And if you think that God gives a shit about my words over you bending over a barrel, bending over and touching your toes, and letting those evil satanic pieces of shit to run their fuckin' fist up your ass, if you think for one second that God gives more of a shit about my language than your fucking freedom is being stripped away, you're fucking looney in the head," he added. "You need fucking help.
"You can pick up a Bible all day, but it doesn't mean fucking shit to read words and pretend to be someone good," Pietro continued. "Be somebody good. Be somebody good. Take some fucking action, take action for once in your life. Stand up and tell your friends to take action."
Later, he said that he's "sick of playing defence" and it's time to "be aggressive".
Pietro's call for today's rally at Vancouver City Hall at 2 p.m. has been endorsed over social media by others in the antimask movement. His video received 667 comments, almost all of which were positive.
Facebook says it's removing hateful content
It's not the first time this type of language has been used by Canadian antimask activists. In February, there were reports of vitriolic and hateful comments directed against Henry.
At the time, Health Minister Adrian Dix said that threats against Henry were "unacceptable".
This story emerged two weeks after Facebook claimed that it's doing a better job than ever at proactively detecting hate speech and bullying and harassment content.
In a February 11 post on the company's website, chief technology officer Mike Schroepfer stated that 97 percent of hate speech that was taken down in the final three months of 2020 was spotted by its automated systems.
That was up from 94 percent in the previous quarter—an indication to him that artificial intelligence is working.
"There is still so much to be done, despite these encouraging improvements," Schroepfer wrote. "One particular area of focus is getting AI even better at viewing content in context across languages, cultures, and geographies. The same words can often be interpreted as either benign or hateful, depending on where they’re published and who is reading them, and training machines to capture this nuance is especially challenging."
Last month, the Straight published a cover story detailing how several female politicians have been repeated bombarded with hateful and misogynistic messages over social-media platforms, including Facebook.
One of them, former Green Party of Canada leader Elizabeth May, called on the Liberal government to introduce legislation describing Facebook, Twitter, Google, and other platforms as "publishers". She said that this is necessary so they would be legally liable for defamatory content.
In the U.S., the social-media giants have immunity from what's posted on their sites because of section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
“These guys need to be regulated—really regulated,” May said.
Another politician, Vancouver East NDP MP Jenny Kwan, called for regulations holding these companies accountable for hateful and violent extremist content.
“They can also take measures to ensure whoever signs up on their social-media platforms are not people who can hide behind anonymity,” Kwan said.
Marco Pietro has posted a new video on his Facebook page saying that someone contacted the RCMP about the earlier video mentioned above.
He emphasized in this second video that he never advocates violence against anybody.
"I've never told people that they need to go and be violent or do anything violent," Pietro said. "I specifically say that I do not advocate for that. I do not want that. We need to conduct ourselves in an orderly fashion.
"I just said some rhetoric like 'back in the day, things would be handled a lot differently.' That's not me advocating violence. That's me speaking on history when people are tyrannical."