USC sues YouTubers for ‘Russian mafia’ pranks that scared students, disrupted classes

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  • The University of Southern California has sued YouTubers Ernest Kanevsky and Yuguo Bai, neither of them USC students, accusing them of barging into classrooms during live lectures and creating disturbances for YouTube videos.
  • Their most recent “prank” was conducted last month, which resulted in them getting detained by the university’s public safety department.
  • On Friday, a local court granted USC’s request for a temporary restraining order against Kanevsky and Bai to prevent them from entering the campus. The university also sought damages for attorney fees and other costs.
  • Kanevsky, who goes by Eric Kanevsky on his YouTube channel, has apparently deleted videos filmed at USC but kept prank videos staged at other college campuses.

The University of Southern California filed a lawsuit last week against two YouTubers for reportedly staging pranks on the school’s Los Angeles campus.

Ernest Kanevsky and Yuguo Bai, neither of them USC students, were accused of disrupting classes and uploading the videos of the disruptions on YouTube.

In the videos, Kanevsky poses as a member of the “Russian mafia” while Bai uses the name “Hugo Boss,” referencing the German fashion designer who was an active member of the Nazi Party.

The pair had been entering USC classrooms and causing disturbances in lectures since last year. The most recent incident was last month when they were detained by the university’s public safety department after crashing a class discussion on the Holocaust. The incident resulted in a drastic decline in classroom attendance at the next scheduled session, according to court documents.

“I was near the door and I started running out,” a student was quoted by USC Annenberg Media as saying. “Everyone just left in a really big panic.”

Lawyers representing the university said the stunts terrorized “students to the point where they [ran] out of lecture halls for fear of their lives.”

The university said the pair “provoked extreme fear and anxiety” and caused students “emotional distress and genuine fear for their personal wellbeing; against the national background of active shooter concerns on college campuses.”

On Friday, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James C. Chalfant issued a temporary restraining order to effectively ban Kanevsky and Bai from entering the campus. In addition to the restraining order, USC has also sought damages for attorney fees and other costs from the lawsuit.

Kanevsky goes by Eric Kanevsky on his YouTube channel, which currently has over 110,000 subscribers. While videos filmed at USC have apparently been removed from his channel, videos of pranks staged at other college campuses in southern California remain posted as of this writing. Bai also has a YouTube channel under the name Hugo Boss, which has a little over 3,000 subscribers.

A hearing has been set for April 28 to determine whether a preliminary injunction should be issued against the two men.

Feature Image via Hugo Boss

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