"Drunk Girl" Video Is Latest Viral Hoax
"Social experiment" was staged by its L.A. creators
11/17 UPDATE: Video's creators remove clip from YouTube
NOVEMBER 12--The viral video claiming to show a series of men plotting to take advantage of a drunk Los Angeles woman was staged by the clip’s creators, who fed lines to the purported predators, dupes who thought they were appearing in a student film, The Smoking Gun has learned.
The video, “Drunk Girl In Public,” is described as a “social experiment” by creator Stephen Zhang, 20, who apparently sought to ride the coattails of the 35 milllion-view Hollaback! video showing a woman being peppered with catcalls as she walked across New York City.
Zhang’s video, shot on Hollywood Boulevard, has been viewed nearly 4.5 million times since it was uploaded to YouTube on November 8.
The clip stars actress Jennifer Box, 24, who teeters on high heels while drinking from a paper bag. The clip portrays the tipsy Box as prey being stalked by the men she encounters.
When one of the men seen in the clip complained bitterly about his portrayal as a would-be rapist, one of the video’s creators sent a private Facebook message advising him to, “Just go with it dude, you are in our team now and we will take care of you.”
The men shown in the video--each of whom is seen trying to lure Box (seen above) to their residence or vehicle--were recruited by Zhang and sidekick Seth Leach, who, days before the video was shot, wrote on his Facebook page that he was, “Shooting some videos in LA all day Thursday and need a good actress. If you live in Los Angeles or have a friend who does and is an actress, tag them/hit me up!”
According to two sources familiar with the clip’s production, the men in the video were approached on the street to take part in a “comedic, hidden camera” video. One source, who said he declined an invitation to be in the video, told TSG that he was told the production was a “student video.” He added that the film crew did not ask for participants to sign releases or any other “paperwork.”
One of the supposed sleazeballs in the video--an African-American man wearing a green shirt--is a street musician named "Ashtray" who plays buckets on Hollywood Boulevard.
Josh Blaine, the shaggy-haired man wearing sunglasses in the video, drives a Hollywood tour bus. In a message to his Facebook friends, Blaine said that he did “a favor for some camera crew guess this is what I get for being agreeable to someones project.” He added that, “it was supposed to be a funny skit. here's to watching my back with virtually no friends. fuck my life.”
Another man seen at the end of the video tells Box, “You’re in no shape to be walking around like this,” and offers to take her to his place, where he has “more beer.” The man, Mike “Mokii” Koshak, works as a sales rep for LA Epic, a firm that arranges nightclub crawls. Stationed in Hollywood, Koshak tries to sell tickets to tourists and other customers.
Koshak’s boss, LA Epic owner Christine Peters, told TSG that “Mokii was taken advantage of” when asked to “say a couple of lines for a comedy sketch.” Peters said, “They made it seem like he was trying to take the girl home.” Since the name of Peters’s company can be seen on Koshak’s t-shirt and hat, Peters said she was upset the firm had been “dragged into it,” since “we don’t condone such behavior.”
In a Facebook post, Koshak (pictured at right) assured friends that the video “was all staged and all of the people in it were acting,” adding that the clip “does not portray myself or any of the other people in it correctly.” He noted that, “it's a false ass portrayal and I was lied to about what the video even was. Faulty ass shit.”
In response to those protestations, Leach, 22, sent Koshak a private Facebook message acknowledging that the video was staged. “The important thing to consider," Leach wrote, "is that this video is going to get you well known and have a future with us and our company."
In a Facebook post yesterday crowing about the viral success of “Drunk Girl In Public,” Leach (seen at left) wrote that the clip was “on the homepage of pretty much every news and media website you can think of.” He then told of “heading out to LA again tomorrow and creating some more viral videos for your viewing and learning pleasure!”
He closed the message by noting, “We are the dream team!,” and tagging the Facebook pages of Zhang, Box, and soundman Chris Olmedo.