It’s a rare thing that a break in and attempted rape ends up somehow improving the lives of the victims.
But the “bed intruder” video in which an unafraid Antoine Dodson taunts and ridicules his sister’s would-be rapist after warning viewers to “hide (their) kids” and “hide (their) husband” in the wake of his sister’s attack went seriously viral, and unlike most unwitting viral video stars, Dodson’s checking cheddar off his YouTube fame. Dodson doesn’t have to rely on YouTube to profit off the clip, luckily for him. (Although some viral videos have grossed hundreds of thousands of dollars.)
The Gregory Brothers, a duo who make tracks by “autotuning” the news, released a version of the clip on iTunes. Although one might dismiss that as a novelty, the song shot to #3 on the iTunes R&B list and #89 on the Billboard Top 100. The Gregory Brothers are sharing the profits with Dodson 50/50. In a Wired interview referenced by the NYT in a piece on Dodson, Evan and Michael Gregory explain:
We’re really breaking ‘unintentional singing’ ground, so we’re trying to set precedents by making it so that Antoine, or whoever that artist might be in the future, has a stake not only as an artist but as a co-author of the song. It’s like you said: He wrote the lyrics, he’s the one who put it out there. What we’re doing on iTunes and on any other sales, we’re splitting the revenue after it gets through Apple down the middle.
Dodson confirms that the video’s success has provided enough revenue for him to move his family from the projects. Interest in the clip has been criticized as “class tourism,” but Dodson doesn’t seem to mind that some of the attention given the clip was mocking:
While Mr. Dodson told ABC News this week that his sister’s attacker was still on the loose, he also said that he has made “a nice amount of money,” from his various new income streams: “enough to move my family from the projects.”
Although some of the buzz around the clip focuses on the video laughing “at him and not with him (because he wasn’t laughing),” most comments are supportive of Dodson and express happiness and relief that he was able to parlay his viral fame into a better life for his family and what seems like a lot more opportunity. What do you think? Is the clip a horrid example of the internet’s inherent racism and classism, or did the “bed intruder video” do more good than harm for Dodson and his family?