Pop Goes The News — It’s no secret that the vast majority of so-called prank videos on YouTube are fake — and at least one young woman wanted to make sure the world knows it.
Vivian Rubio posted a video last month showing how a YouTuber named “Risky Rob” staged his latest prank video.
Rubio answered a Craigslist ad in Miami seeking an actress to play the victim in what turned out to be a video titled Money Hungry Gold Digger Prank.
On his YouTube channel, Risky Rob — whose real name is Robert Pinon — described the video as a social experiment. “I approach a hot girl to try to pick her up, but I am rejected,” he wrote.
“Once I drop hundreds of dollars of bills of money, do you think this hot girl becomes interested and gets exposed as a gold digger? You are going to have to watch till the end to find out!”
The video, posted Jan. 4, has already been viewed more than 4.8 million times.
But several days after it appeared online, Rubio posted her own video exposing the prank as a fake.
Pinon and a camera operator are heard giving Rubio directions on how to react. “Go with the flow, as if it’s actually happening,” she is told.
At one point, Pinon is heard explaining why Rubio’s face will be blurred in the video.
“People are going to know it’s staged,” he says. “People will be, ‘Oh, Risky Rob stages pranks now.’”
Rubio’s video, which has been seen more than 544,000 times in its first month, got mixed reviews on YouTube. Some wondered what she hoped to accomplish.
“I don’t even believe in pranks and 99.9 of them are fake,” commented one user. “Everybody knows that.”
Another wrote: “I find it interesting that Rubio participates in staged videos for a living, then ‘busts’ someone for staging a video that she voluntarily participated in.”
More than one person suggested Rubio and Pinon are working together to create a controversy to boost his exposure. (On Feb. 13, Pinon boasted on social media that he reached 100,000 YouTube subscribers.)
“This is all fake. The ‘exposing the prank’ video is more fake than the prank video,” one person opined.
Another commented: “I’m so cynical that I was thinking this is a clever double scam to send tons of traffic to his channel. As they say, all publicity is good publicity.”