Q-and-A with ‘Islamophobe’ in viral video

The photo shows Devon Giamou with a bloody nose  after he was punched in the face  while filming a social experiment on Islamophobia with his friends.

Devin Giamou (left) after he was punched in the face while filming a social experiment on Islamophobia with his friends. (Courtesy of Omar Albach, YouTube)

Last week, 22-year-old Devin Giamou earned his 15 minutes of fame by getting punched in the face in a social experiment video that went viral following the Parliament Hill shootings.

But who is the guy behind the infamous bloody mug that flooded Facebook newsfeeds over the last little while? He’s a third-year film and broadcast student at Centennial College and a self-proclaimed YouTube troll. The interview has been condensed.

The Ryersonian: Did you expect to get punched in the face?

Giamou: No. I mean, the original guy I was talking to, in the red and black shirt — I suspected that he would do something. So I was kind of bracing myself while staying in character, because I wanted to see what reaction I could get out of him — if he would go through with it.
But the guy who punched me, I never talked to him directly. He came up from behind me and punched me in the face. I definitely wasn’t expecting him to punch me.

The Ryersonian: How’d you feel after that?

Giamou: Well, I was shocked. I was a little confused. Two people were coming towards me, you can see at the end of the video, and I was trying to clear things up, but they weren’t having it. I mean, as soon as I was crossing the street and the blood was dripping down my face, I was thinking to myself, “We have something here. This has potential to get some views.”

The Ryersonian: Do you think the video would have gone as viral if you hadn’t gotten punched in the face?

Giamou: That’s what we were talking about — even after the first reaction. I don’t think it would have gone as viral, but I think it would have gotten some views. We were talking about that after the first reaction that we got — when that guy said “Why?” — right after that. We knew it did have some potential there. But no, I don’t think it would have gone as viral.

The Ryersonian: How long did it take you guys to shoot the whole video?

Giamou: We probably shot that video in about two hours. We didn’t edit out any of the responses that we shot. Every single shot, we kept. There wasn’t any single shot where people didn’t say anything. Every clip we shot was in that video. That was kind of cool.

The Ryersonian: Is there anything that you’ll take away from your experience shooting this video?

Giamou: Shooting the whole video was an experience for me. Right off the bat, from the first reaction, I started learning a lot about Canada, and how intolerant we are to that kind of racism, which I thought was really cool. Marketing-wise, I have learned how to get views and how to get viewed, shared and get your video watched in general — I have learned a lot in that sense. Be as social as possible. Try to interest people.

The Ryersonian: What about relating videos to hot button issues in the media?

Giamou: I think that was the whole thing, with the timing. (We thought that) we should do this now. This is a trending topic. And it would be better if we went down to Hamilton because the whole Nathan Cirillo thing. It worked out better that way and we ended up doing it the next day because we wanted to stay on top of the time.

The Ryersonian: What’s your impression of Canadians now compared to before?

Giamou: I’ve gained a lot of respect for Canadians. I just like how they don’t put up with that kind of stuff, and it was proved in that video. Whatever reputation Canadians get is a positive one in this video. My respect for them has grown significantly. Beforehand, I always knew that Canadians were supportive and I didn’t think they were racist in general, but like I said, this was a whole learning experience for me.

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