We've all heard by now that the Drunk Girl" social experiment viral video is a hoax. Hoax as in staged, though I don't even understand how anyone would think it wasn't with some of the terrible acting on display. We've had issues with Hoax ads spreading around the web, as well as hoax stunts trying to gain viral fame, while "Charlie bit my finger" and 10 hours of walking in NYC have become the clip-currency of the world. It's really no wonder that people would simply start faking the clips, not in the name of a brand but simply for their own fame. Especially since brands do not like to be in situations like the Sprite blow job, the Audi Suicide or used by a VW suicide bomber. Everyone has threatened legal action but nothing seems to have happened, so permissionless film-making for the win!
It's really no wonder then, that we've ended up here, where a fake social situation is set up for the cause du jour, and the people involved weren't even told what they were doing.
One of the "scumbag men" seen in the video, Mike "Mokii" Koshak, says on Facebook that it was staged and doesn't portray anyone in the video accurately. He continues "I thought it was just some comedy skit they asked me to be in" and responds to someone who asks if he signed anything with "nope". Wait, hold on, you said you signed nothing, was mislead, and this was shot in Los Angeles?
Oh yes, but there's more - from TSG says Leach, 22, sent Koshak a private Facebook message which read:
“The important thing to consider, is that this video is going to get you well known and have a future with us and our company. We are going to be huge and you are apart of it. Just go with it dude, you are in our team now and we will take care of you. We are on the homepage of pretty much every news and media website you can think of. Heading out to LA again tomorrow and creating some more viral videos for your viewing and learning pleasure! We are the dream team!" he ended by tagging Zhang, Box, and soundman Chris Olmedo.
Really? We're not only misleading people as we trick them into working for free - sorry, beers and high fives - now, we're using the old "you'll be famous" thing too? Look, not all of us can get millions for recreating a pose Jean-Paul Goude originally shot in the 70s. For most of us, fame is a fickle beast and Alex from Target knows the other side too well, despite just being famous for being cute, his family has received death threats.
Permissionless-innovation carries with it such blatant arrogance it's a wonder those who stand up for unions and the working man aren't upset when things like this happen. SAG has every right to come down hard on Leach, not to mention taxi drivers who paid licenses, now dealing with Uber. But apparently the whole fighting-for-the-working man goes out the window when a tech company is funding it, or when we create a "social experiment."
The biggest problem isn't just that "Social experiment" is nothing more than an intellectual-sounding phrase to replace the word "manipulation," but in most cases it is unclear just exactly who is being experimented on. The drunk girl viral might have started to as an experiment to make us feel bad about ourselves, but let's turn the tables. Is the social experiment to see how far you can make people believe a hoax? Or is it to see how many actors you can dupe into working for free?
It's possible this is just an experiment on our own media, to see which journalist actually does any research.
Update November 18 The Actress apologises for her involvement in this video: 'Had I known the damaging outcome of this video, I never would have participated,' actress says