A video that went viral, after claiming to be a social experiment on "men taking advantage of a drunk girl" is now found to have been an elaborate hoax.
The over-four-minute-long video created quite a sensation on YouTube, after news outlets picked up the "social experiment" and reported: "How Men React to a Drunk Girl in Public is Pretty Depressing."
Reports now claim that the video was in fact a hoax, which tried and succeeded in gaining major traction by pretending to conduct a social experiment similar to the viral "New York Sexual Harassment Catcalling" video.
The video shot via a hidden camera showed a drunk woman in high heels and a dress stumbling around in broad daylight along Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles, asking men to help her find a bus home to Culver City.
In the video, the woman — a paid actress, who identifies herself to the camera as "Jennifer" — drinks from a brown paper bag while asking for assistance from "creepy" men, who then try to lure her back to their apartments.
Besides mass social outrage, the video gained major traction after it was posted on YouTube on 8 November. The video has received over eight million views at the time of reporting.
However, the social experiment has reportedly been staged. All the people in the footage were actors, including the men trying to lure the drunk woman, and were hired by a 20-year-old aspiring film producer, Stephen Zhang.
For the "Drunk Girl on Public," viral video, the purported predators in video were "fed lines" by young film-maker, who reportedly tricked the unsuspecting "creepy" men in the movie into believing that they were appearing in a student film, The Smoking Gun reported.
"We went out to Hollywood Blvd to see how guys would treat a drunk young woman out on the streets," Zhang reportedly wrote on his Facebook page after posting the "social experiment" video.
The bluff on the "social experiment" hoax was called in by the "purported predators" in the film, who objected to the negative publicity the video was bringing. "It's a false portrayal and I was lied to about what the video even was," said Mike Koshak, a sales representative in real life.
It has now emerged that the film crew approached the men on the street to participate in a "comic, hidden camera" skit, which was part of a student video.
"It was supposed to be a funny skit," said one of the men, Josh Blaine, in an alleged Facebook message to friends. "Here's to watching my back with virtually no friends. F*** my life."
It is reported that after 'the male actors' raised their objection to the film, one of the co-creators of the film, Seth Leach, 22, offered to take all the "affected" parties out for a drink.
"We are going to be huge and you are a part of it," Leach wrote to Koshak before offering him free alcoholic beverages. "Just go with it dude, you are in our team now and we will take care of you."