In late February 2021, a catchy TikTok song (“Antifa Hoedown”) began migrating to Facebook, often in the form of the version seen below:
That version was uploaded by @eerie.bxby on January 28 2021, and it showed a dark-haired woman dancing to the short ditty in a kitchen. @eerie.bxby added “visit dannykbernstein for the original audio – Luna” in the TikTok description, crediting @dannykbernstein as the composer of the song.
Nearly half a million people “liked” the version of @eerie.bxby dancing to the song, and tens of thousands more shared the clip. However, clicking the text crediting @dannykbernstein led to other iterations of the song:
@nonamewatercolorsTag a fellow left wing sheeple. ##fyp ##gaytiktok ##lgbt♬ visit dannykbernstein for the original audio – Luna
As indicated in @eerie.bxby’s version, the song was composed and originally uploaded by Danny Bernstein (@dannykbernstein), who published “ANTIFA HOEDOWN 1 – Danny K Bernstein” on January 9 2021:
@dannykbernsteinITS ALL TRUE. ##NFLPlayoffs ##LiftandSnatchBrow ##FYP ##haha ##funny ##comedy ##gay ##lgbt ##gaytiktok ##lol ##country ##countrymusic♬ ANTIFA HOEDOWN 1 – Danny K Bernstein
No fewer than 1839 videos using the audio for “Antifa Hoedown” were shared after Bernstein first debuted it in January 2021, and Google Trends data evidenced broad search interest in the song. One of those videos was shared to Reddit’s r/TikTokCringe on February 7 2021:
Bernstein transcribed the lyrics on the screen of the original video (as did some others using the audio):
Why yes, I’m an evil left wing sheeple snowflake,
working for the deep state,
here to force your wives to get abortions,
and then leave you for transgender lesbians.
Yes, it was us, antifa that stormed the Capitol,
to make you all look bad,
so that we can take your guns, spread communism,
and blast Cardi B in your churches.
And you’re never gonna stop us,
no, you’re never gonna stop us,
no, you’re never gonna stop us,
no, you’re never gonna stop us,
no, you’re never gonna stop us …
Bernstein’s ‘Antifa Hoedown’ Series and a Purported TikTok Shadowban
In a February 2 2021 video, Bernstein shared a different composition, noting that this song was “not actually the original start of this series.”
On January 11 2021, Bernstein uploaded “Antifa Hoedown 2 (IT’S ALL TRUE, PT. 2 REUPLOADED),” addressing issues such as vaccinations turning children bisexual (and inspiring them, for some reason, to attend Vassar), Black Lives Matter, and sending gay people from Puerta Vallarta to a “circuit party in Tomi Lahren’s living room”:
@dannykbernsteinIT’S ALL TRUE, PT. 2 REUPLOADED ##Wee ##gay ##gaytiktok ##lgbt ##lgbtq ##lol ##comedy ##haha ##funny ##xyzbca ##country ##countrymusic ##music ##viral ##lyrics♬ ANTIFA HOEDOWN 2 – Danny K Bernstein
On January 24 2021, Bernstein responded to requests by other users for him to put “Antifa Hoedown” (the viral version) on Spotify, explaining that he was having difficulty figuring out how to fulfill the request and adding that he is “an out-of-work composer”:
@dannykbernsteinReply to @rowankaz ADDRESSING THIS HERE SO I STOP GETTING SO MANY DMS ##leftist ##BoseAllOut ##music ##lol ##comedy♬ original sound – Danny K Bernstein
In mid-February 2021, Bernstein re-uploaded a version of the clip explaining that he had been unemployed due to the pandemic. Text on the screen indicated that Bernstein could not work until performances were safe to attend, adding “Tiktok is all I have lol”:
(Hi, I’m Danny. I wrote this.)
(I’m a composer/pianist in NYC unemployed bc of COVID)
(Until live shows are safe again …)
(Tiktok is all I have lol.)
On February 21 2021, u/dannykbernstein (presumably the same person) shared a thread titled “Next Level Shadowbanning? Lordt” to Reddit’s r/Tiktokhelp:
In that post, Bernstein described that the viral popularity of of “Antifa Hoedown” appeared to have “shadowbanned” on TikTok — evidenced by reduced distribution and visibility on TikTok’s FYP (“for you page.”) Bernstein said that other accounts received engagement using his “Antifa Hoedown” composition, but expressed concern his audio was causing others to be shadowbanned.
Shadowbanning is the long-standing practice of platforms to quietly place restrictions on or ban a user’s account for unstated reasons, without informing the account-holder that their reach has been limited or, sometimes, halted altogether. Reddit’s r/ShadowBan is a community for users who suspect that they’re shadowbanned to receive a definitive answer, and a bot assesses posted questions to determine whether posters are shadowbanned on Reddit. The nature of shadowbanning is such that the shadowbanned user not only is unaware their account has been restricted, but they often are not aware of why their account was targeted by platform administrators.
In a separate thread, u/dannykbernstein reiterated that due to pandemic restrictions on gatherings, TikTok was his primary source of potential income:
I hear ya – I really do. I actually took a week off because I realized my moods were completely correlated to my numbers, and I haven’t been on the FYP in 6 weeks now and counting.
That said, I was a full-time pianist before COVID, so I haven’t been able to work in almost a year now. Tiktok has been really vital in my getting commission gigs, as well as tips and other sources of income. It’s really frustrating to know that Tiktok is punishing me (albeit for political content and a few community guidelines violations). Granted, other users’ accounts continue to go viral with the sounds I’ve created, which is super fun, and helps my growth.
But it’s still just such a bummer every time I post something I had fun making, and I only get engagement from my followers :-/
In February 2021, Danny Bernstein (@dannykbernstein)’s “Antifa Hoedown 1,” part of a series, moved from TikTok virality to Facebook and Twitter. In some of Bernstein’s other videos, he described himself as an “out-of-work composer” who had been sidelined by pandemic restrictions on live performances, and that TikTok was his primary source of connecting with work until those restrictions were lifted. Bernstein’s name was not always visible when content involving the song was shared to other platforms, and Bernstein appeared to seek help and report that his TikTok profile had been shadowbanned after the viral success of “Antifa Hoedown 1” — further reducing his opportunity to work as a composer and pianist as the pandemic wore on.