Hey, you know that awesome viral video where the ex-Nasa engineer designs and sends into the world the amazing glitter bomb package meant to get revenge on package thieves? Yeah, it turns out that’s not exactly real.
I was going to go into a rant about how we can’t seem to have just one good, nice thing this year, but then I remembered that President Obama did put on a Santa hat and bring gifts to a children’s hospital this week, so okay, we apparently can have ONE nice thing. But just the one.
So the video. In case you actually did miss it, what happened was after supposedly having a package stolen from his front door, Mark Rober, an ex-Nasa engineer and YouTuber, created a fake package in order to deter/get revenge on anyone else who decided to steal his mail.
Because of his background in engineering, Rober designed an incredibly complex box that, when opened, not only released a pound of glitter into the immediate area via centrifugal force, but also filmed the person opening it using four iPhones set up in the box. Oh, and there was a can of fart spray, too.
The video went beyond viral; it now has over 48 million views on YouTube. And that led, of course, to people at home really studying and analyzing the video. And here’s where the story gets very detailed.
The viewers noticed interesting things, like the fact that one of the porch package robbers lived next door to Rober’s friend, Cici, and that the car used in one of the supposed heists was parked in front of Cici’s house in Pittsburg, CA. The man who determined this, Peter Logan, emailed BuzzFeed News with his findings and also posted them on Imgur, where more people got in on the internet detective game.
People on Twitter and Reddit started to point out what they saw as strange stuff about the video, like that the police were never involved, or how calm the “thieves” were given that they’d just supposedly been sprayed with tons of glitter and the foul-smelling farts.
When people began to contact Rober with questions about the video, the video suddenly got edited: parts of the video were blurred and some were edited out.
Rober tweeted on Thursday that he’d removed about one and a half minutes of the video after being “presented with information that caused [him] to doubt the veracity of 2 of the 5 reactions in the video.”
I posted this as a comment response to my recent viral tweet/video but I’m posting it as a new tweet as well: pic.twitter.com/g2VHsQWh1z
— Mark Rober (@MarkRober) December 20, 2018
He explained that he’d offered financial compensation to the people he reached out to because they were taking the time to put the package out. So in two of the supposed theft cases, the “thieves” actually knew the person putting out the box and were in on it.
Rober apologized for potentially misleading viewers and wrote that he should have “done more to verify” the content. He still maintained that the other reactions to the exploding glitter package were real.
“This is my first ever video with some kind of ‘prank’ and like I mentioned in the video it’s pretty removed from my comfort zone and I should have done more. I’m especially gutted because so much thought, time, money and effort went into building the device and I hope this doesn’t just taint the entire effort as ‘fake.’”
People were understandably disappointed to find out the video wasn’t entirely legitimate.
So the stolen package glitter bomb video is a fake?
2018 truly is a hellscape. https://t.co/crOe70i3rQ
— Matthew Reichbach (@fbihop) December 19, 2018
— Milan Chakraborty (@tajmilan) December 18, 2018
Other people tweeted that they’d known it was fake all along.
Don’t know if I’m being overly skeptical, but the “glitter bomb package thief” video just screams fake to me.
— Sean Cameron Slater (@D4_C0D3R) December 19, 2018
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Somebody else thought the “acting” gave it away.
Well, confirming my asshole status, I seem to be the only person who thinks that “glitter bomb” bate package video on YouTube is fake as fuck.
Not tge device, the “thieves” just seem like shit actors to me.
— RebornRocker (@RebornRocker) December 18, 2018
But a lot of people still appreciated the video and the fake package for the technical marvel it was.
I think it’s admirable to be up front like this and taking responsibility. That says a lot about your values.
— Katt the Satanist (@Pentagramdreams) December 20, 2018
It was and remains the video of the year. The beauty is the obsessive engineering that led to a gorgeous and elegant solution. I can’t wait to see your future videos all while my kids and I catch up on your past work.
— Chris Sacca (@sacca) December 20, 2018
I’d happily still put that package out on my steps and just wait for some poor fool to come along and grab it.
H/T BuzzFeed News