A viral video showed a NASA engineer’s response to thieves swiping packages off his porch: a bomb that sprayed glitter and foul-smelling spray on them.
But as so often happens with viral videos, it turned out that it wasn’t quite what it seemed.
Mark Rober, the video’s creator and an engineer who worked on NASA’s Curiosity Rover, apologized this week after admitting that the “thieves” seen swiping packages and reacting in dismay at the explosion of glitter afterward were actually actors and that their reactions were faked. As USA Today reported, many people had pointed out some apparent inconsistencies in the videos that led them to believe that some or all of it was not legitimate, and Rober did some investigating of the people who helped create the video.
Rober said he later learned that some of the reactions from thieves were faked, so he apologized. The NASA scientist said he is more accustomed to making videos showing off his engineering skills and that this was his first foray into “prank” videos, so he didn’t know exactly what to expect.
Rober said that the glitter bomb itself was legitimate, but that he didn’t have enough experience making viral videos.
“I know my credibly (sic) is sort of shot but I encourage you to look at the types of videos I’ve been making for the past 7 years. This is my first ever video with some kind of ‘prank’ and… it’s pretty removed from my comfort zone. I should have done more. Full stop.”
Former NASA engineer-turned-YouTube star Mark Rober spent six months combining GPS tracking, cameras, fart spray and glitter in an elaborate and amusing mechanism after discovering thieves had stolen an Amazon delivery from his doorstep. https://t.co/Itoc6uVhyV— NBC Los Angeles (@NBCLA) December 19, 2018
This is not the first time that a viral video has turned out to be fake. Earlier this year, a video showing a Russian woman pouring bleach on “manspreaders” on the subway turned out to be exposed as anti-feminist propaganda. Other videos have been exposed as clever marketing ploys for corporations, which was the case with a video that showed a young girl narrowly avoid a lightning strike while on a beach in Australia. As BT reported, the video was actually created by the production agency the Woolshed Company as part of a “Viral Experiment” that produced 15 videos and drew a collective 310 million views.
As for Mark Rober and his viral video, some people didn’t seem to mind that the glitter bomb video was faked, saying they still enjoyed seeing porch thieves get some creative comeuppance — even if the entire thing did happen to be staged.