Alleged subject, who has the online handle “Arab Andy,” has many accounts online where he posts prank videos where he plays profane text to speech and media on loud speakers in public for money.— The Daily of the University of Washington (@thedaily) June 1, 2018
Hopefully, 2018 will be the year of comeuppance for YouTube pranksters who mistake their criminal lack of empathy for sense of humor.
YouTube personality Arab Andy is part of a wave of vloggers who solicit donations from their handful of followers to play pre-recorded messages in public places.
This time, Andy reportedly walked into a crowded room in the University of Washington, Seattle, and asked for the attention of everyone present. He then played a pre-recorded message from his phone that informed people “C4 has been successfully activated, bomb detonation countdown successfully started.”
The message then played beeping sounds and audio of people screaming.
Needless to say, it sent room into frenzied panic as students started to flee the room, afraid the device would detonate.
However, someone called the police and Andy was soon arrested. In a statement, University of Washington Police said “the investigation revealed this was a prank and there was no device on him or left in the room.”
Andy has now been charged with making a fake bomb threat.
A little online digging showed that Andy used this livestreaming to profit off the discomfort and panic he caused in public places. Previously, he went around a Seattle mall and played fake announcements of a nuclear attack from North Korea.
Modeled after the popular YouTube channel Ice Poseidon (created by Paul Denino), Andy has named his channel ISIS Poseidon and cultivated the panic surrounding ISIS in previous years for his personal benefit.
Denino has reportedly called him out and advised him “to get the f*** away from the terrorist s*** [...] the bull**** he’s been doing with the TTS.”
TTS refers to text-to-speech, a phrase for messages played at the request of viewers. Previously, Andy played messages in return for donations from his audience, which could be as low as $3. Even the fake bomb threat message seems to have been played for $4.20.
Arab Andy seems infuriatingly aware of the magnitude of his actions. As he was being taken away by the police, he told the police officer, whom he referred to as “bro,” that he was just having fun with TTS.
With the proliferation of YouTube pranking channels, it is imperative that the website has a less clumsy system of filtering and regulating content.
The video of the livestream has been removed by the video-streaming giant.