About 11 p.m. Saturday, Antonio F. Knox Sr., the Grand Basileus for Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., said he began receiving phone calls and text messages about a video on social media that featured members of the organization.
The less-than-two-minute video, which has received more than 6 million views on Facebook and YouTube, shows a number of members of the fraternity hopping with their pants down — low enough to expose their buttocks.
“It was sad, and it was disgusting,” Knox said during a phone interview from North Carolina on Monday afternoon. “While I understand young people having a party and doing things, this is not what Omega does or condones.”
A message from Knox posted on Sunday morning on the fraternity’s website in part reads: “Social media is a tool to showcase our great work. Over the last 24 hours many of you have contacted the International Headquarters, the Supreme Council and myself to express your displeasure and disgust over a viral video of alleged members, exhibiting behavior outside the boundaries of the precepts and mission of the great brotherhood of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.”
Knox said it appeared the video was made in 2009 in Florida, though the exact city was unknown. Still, he said, there will be consequences for the men in the video, once they are identified.
“We’re working hard with Facebook and YouTube to take it down,” Knox said of the posted video. “We’re getting resistance because [Facebook] is saying it doesn’t violate their policy. But it doesn’t represent our principles.”
Knox emphasizes all of the good work that the organization has done, such as charity efforts and scholarships, and work done to building members character and confidence, all part of its cardinal principles.
“People should go to our website and look at all of the positive things we do and the things we do in the community,” he said. “Look at the things we’ve done politically, economically and the things that we support. Don’t judge us by anything that in no shape or form is a misrepresentation of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity.”
Omega Psi Phi was founded in 1911 on the campus of Howard University in Washington, D.C. The organization has more than 700 chapters throughout the United States, Bermuda, the Bahamas, Virgin Islands, South Korea, Japan, Liberia, Germany and Kuwait, according to its website.
The group says its members are men who lead in all aspects of professional and civic life, including civil rights advocacy, government, education and science.
“People have been successful in all walks of life,” Knox said. “Our mission is to make life better in our communities.”
Most recently, the organization has worked to help rebuild communities affected by Hurricane Matthew and in November it will host an Uplift and Unity Summit in Charlotte, N.C., to address police shootings.
Knox became the organization’s 40th president when he was elected Grand Basileus in 2014 during the group’s Grand Conclave in Philadelphia. He was re-elected to the position in July in Las Vegas.