It’s just disgusting how people hungry for viral fame on the Internet are trivializing serious issues like sexual assault and racial profiling.
A video purportedly showing men attempting to take advantage of an intoxicated woman was a hoax, new reports are suggesting.
The so-called social experiment’s YouTube video quickly went viral this week, drawing criticism from people who thought the reactions from men were disgusting.
But it was fake – all of it, apparently.
One of the men, Josh Blaine, told the Huffington Post he felt he was tricked into looking like “some sexual predator.”
"A couple people asked me if I'd be part of their video, if I wouldn't mind 'acting out a little skit,” he said. "They told me I needed to pretend to pick up this drunk girl and try to take her home, and that it would be really funny."
As shocking as the details of the fake experiment may sound, the video is a huge blow to the debate surrounding sexual harassment on the streets.
As if the Internet wasn’t already a sorry state of affairs – a place where people spend hours Photoshopping Kim Kardashian’s butt and Beyonce can't post a selfie without (poorly) retouching it first – such viral hoaxes can potentially hijack important social issues that need to be tackled.
Another case in point is the NYPD racial profiling experiment from last month.
TrueStoryASA created a viral video allegedly exposing a racial profiling against Muslims incident in New York City. It showed a police officer frisked the actors 20 minutes after they changed from casual clothing into traditional Arab dress.
The clip, since it shed light on a rather sensitive issue, quickly went viral and started a debate on how certain races and ethnicities are treated by law-enforcement officials – especially NYPD.
However, much to the dismay of many, the creators revealed a few days later that their “social experiment” was staged.
Comedians Sheikh Akbar and Adam Saleh posted an apology video on Oct. 21 and acknowledged the video was in fact a dramatization meant to “bring awareness” to racial profiling and maybe it did – in a way. However, there are also equal chances that people might not pay attention to actual incidents in future.
While such viral hoaxes can help bring an issue to light, they could also be counterproductive.