YouTube pranksters have always been a major success, but sometimes their funny ideas turn out to be not so funny in reality. Check out how bad it ended for these ‘funny men’. Also, not how cowardly the museum goers were. Not one of them stood up to the ‘robbers’.
In the world of YouTube pranks, long one of the platform’s most popular genres, it’s usually all fun and games — until someone incites a public panic and gets arrested.
Prank videos are a popular Internet pastime that are spreading rapidly to other sites. Tubular Labs, a social analytics firm, estimates that searches for prank-related videos on social media account for some 7 billion views so far this year, with YouTube, Facebook and Vine making up the majority of the search traffic.
The quest for viral fame has a cost. Some pranksters have recently found themselves facing criminal prosecution and jail. But the legal trouble has not deterred them, and their videos continue to attract fans and imitators.
For members of a popular YouTube prank account called Trollstation, wearing pantyhose on their faces and running through London’s National Portrait Gallery screaming “Get the paintings!” probably seemed like a good idea at the time.
But on Monday, a court handed down jail sentences to four men accused of behaving in a way that incited fear and provoked violence in the fake gallery heist and for a staged kidnapping at another museum. (Trollstation already has one member serving time for a separate bombing hoax.) Daniel Jarvis, 27, received the longest jail sentence, and will serve a total of seven months for both episodes.
“The hoaxes may have seemed harmless to them, but they caused genuine distress to a number of members of the public, who should be able to go about their daily business without being put in fear in this way,” Robert Short, a prosecutor, said in a statement.
Amina Maz, a production manager for Trollstation, said in an email on Wednesday that the sentencing was too harsh.
“A suspended sentence or community service would have acted as a deterrent,” she wrote.