I was cancelled after being falsely accused of racism by another student
Barney Schneider was assumed to be the culprit of a racist video, but he was innocent
On the 25th October, four women in Coventry were racially abused by a white man in glasses shouting “black lives matter c**ts” at them while they were trying to enter a taxi. The video circulated online and Twitter did what Twitter does best: identified the culprit, posted his socials, and encouraged people to take him down however they saw fit. But there was one problem. It was the wrong person.
The man in the video was incorrectly identified as Barney Schneider, a fourth-year student at Coventry University who bears a striking resemblance to the man in the video. Pictures from his social media profiles were circulated, with captions calling him a “racist scumbag” and tagging the uni. One tweet threatened Coventry University to “sort this out ASAP before someone else does”.
Which all would have been fair – but Barney Schneider had spent the entire evening of the 25th October in Worcester, not Coventry, and hadn’t racially abused anyone.
The posts became worse and worse. Coventry students widely assumed it was him because he looked so similar to the man in the video. Barney was sent death threats and has been unable to leave his house because of the abuse he’s received.
“It’s been terrifying at times,” Barney told The Tab. “To see your name and photographs plastered over social media platforms labelling you as a ‘racist scumbag’ is a horrifying experience.”
Barney, who is Jewish, says it’s particularly hard for him to be accused of such a “vile” racist crime. “I’ve been raised to believe everyone is equal regardless of race and colour, I have friends in every corner of the world thanks in no small part to my university experience. I’m well aware of unacceptable racism and persecution.
“Right now, I’m a prisoner in my own home. I just want my life back.”
Over the past week Barney has been providing West Midlands Police and Coventry University with extensive evidence, including Uber receipts, phone location history, and witness accounts, to prove that it wasn’t him in the video.
West Midlands Police confirmed this, telling The Coventry Tab: “We’re aware a man was wrongly named online as being involved” and urged people to come forward if they know the true identity of the culprit.
Meanwhile, the evidence Barney has been providing privately hasn’t been enough to exonerate him publicly. The original tweet was deleted and the poster understands it was not Barney, but many others do not.
Barney’s mother Erika has been actively reporting other tweets naming her son for harassment and has received messages herself, saying that her “son is a racist”. She says she hasn’t slept since the online abuse began. “He’s not just an ignorant white middle-class man,” she told The Coventry Tab in reference to a tweet which called him exactly that. “He has respect for everyone.”
“I am extremely sorry for what the girls went through and will do anything that is asked of me to help get the real suspect responsible caught,” Barney said. “Although the suspect may bear a resemblance to me in appearance I can assure you our views couldn’t be further apart.”
West Midlands Police told The Coventry Tab: “We were alerted to four women being racially abused in Fairfax Street, Coventry, on the evening of 25 October.
“Mobile phone footage has been secured as part of our enquiries to find the offender.
“We’re aware a man was wrongly named online as being involved. We’d urge people not to speculate but contact police with information via Live Chat or by calling 101.”
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