A recent viral “social experiment” video testing strangers’ honesty toward a blind man has been exposed as fake.
Australian Youtuber Adrian Gee posted the video to his channel, which has over 189,000 subscribers, earlier this month, and it has since garnered over 2 million views.
In the video, Gee poses as a blind man and asks supposed strangers for change for a $5 AUD bill but instead hands over a $50 AUD bill to see if they take advantage of his mistake.
After an investigation into the video, however, Australian current affairs program “Today Tonight” found that the people in Gee’s video were all paid actors.
The show was able to track down and identify all of the video’s performers, who were all listed on a casting website, including a man whose face was blurred.
Gee, whose YouTube videos consist mostly of social experiments and pranks, did not deny the allegations in a segment on the show when he was confronted by investigators and instead shortly stormed out of the studio.
Ramon, one of the video’s performers who has a unique scar on his arm, told the program that he has dealt with negative reactions toward him since the video went up.
“I just couldn’t believe that he actually portrayed that we were real and not actors, and he kept on going on with that story, which was a total, total false anyway,” he told “Today Tonight.”
Days after the exposé aired, Gee posted a comment to the controversial video to defend its staging.
“YES, this video is in fact staged and the majority of the people you see are in fact actors,” he wrote. “First of all I’d like to just apologise to my loyal subscribers whom I call my #mates that were effected and I hope you understand why and what motivated me to do this as you read along.”
He went to add: “The intent behind the video was just to send a message and to make you think. We all know that individuals like that do exist and I personally know people with a disability that have been taken advantage of in a similar situation.”