Jimmy Kimmel's Fake Twerking Video a Cautionary Tale to Media in the Internet Age
There is a reason kids are cynical when it comes to YouTube videos. The number of comments claiming viral videos are fake is directly proportional to the likelihood someone actually captured their ridiculous moment on video. In some cases, the cynicism is overblown and the video is real. However, at other times, it's completely justified.
There is a reason kids think everything online is fake. Because a lot of it is.
That is the case with the "worst twerk fail ever," a video posted to YouTube that has garnered almost 10 million views since it was posted online. Supposedly, a young woman was trying to do some sexy twerking for her boyfriend. She ended up doing a handstand against the door when her roommate opened it and knocked the twerker over destroying a coffee table and setting the woman's yoga pants on fire.
Turns out, it was all a hoax...by Jimmie Kimmel.
The late night talk show host revealed the prank during his show:
The best part of the above video is the end where the show a montage of broadcast news outlets and talk shows including The View reporting on the clip and even showing concern for the girl, who, it turns out, is a Hollywood stunt woman.
What this reminds us is that, in the Internet age, it is important to make sure what you are showing is real. National media outlets carried the fake video without even checking the voracity of it. But, some savvy YouTube users were not fooled.
This where the world of entertainment and reality straddles a very delicate line. Perhaps you've noticed that shows like Duck Dynasty are no longer termed "reality" television, but rather "un-scripted." Probably the only real reality TV show was the first season of The Real World. Once the popularity of un-scripted TV became evident, the experiment was over and the money making began.
The same is true of viral videos. When people realized you could make money, nevermind fame, from a silly video of a kid biting another kid's finger or a cat falling down or someone bumping into a glass wall, thousands and thousands of would-be amateur filmmakers set out to make their own. Except, they planned it, sometimes very convincingly like in the Kimmel stunt, but it was planned nevertheless.
Everyone in the media, in our mad rush to report on anything that might draw eyeballs and/or listeners has been sucked in to something that wasn't real. But, with video cameras built into cell phones and massive social media websites for the videos they make readily available to anyone, it's no shock that the number of people being fooled by hoaxes seems to be increasing.
My guess is that there are hoaxes out there on YouTube that no one has discovered. Maybe, as Kimmel joked, he really was the one who bit Charlie's finger.