Photo: Roman Atwood/YouTube
“Horrifying.” “Cruel.” “What a jerk.” Those are just a few of the reactions to YouTube prankster Roman Atwood’s new video, “Killing My Own Kid PRANK!!” which has scored a staggering 9.5 million views since he posted it on November 30th.
The two-minute prank begins with the professional video blogger playing with his toddler son Kane, dressed in a Spider-Man costume, in an upstairs room of their home. As mom Brittney walks up the stairs to join them, Atwood asks a doll he secretly swapped for Kane, “Are you ready to fly?” then pretends to accidentally launch the figure off the balcony of the second floor. Atwood’s girlfriend immediately flies down the stairs to the lifeless lump on the floor and frantically rips off the mask to find she’s been duped. “You don’t pretend to throw our kids off a f—-ing balcony!” she wails, kicking Atwood. “You’re sleeping on the couch!”
Feedback online has been just as charged, with more than 9,800 comments on the spot, which was trending on Facebook three days later. And though reaction has been divided, with 150,000-plus “likes” as of Thursday versus 7,300 “dislikes,” many critics are united in the theme of their slams: Shame on you, dad.
Photo: Roman Atwood/YouTube
“This prank crossed the line. Any parents’ absolute worst fear is something happening to their child. You put your wife through a dangerous amount of stress for views. Not cool,” wrote one commenter. Added another, “All of these people who think it’s funny need their heads checked. I doubt they’d like it if it were their child. Not funny at all.”
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Atwood isn’t the first father to prank his kids – or feel the wrath of the Internet for doing so. On October 28, a set of parents tricked their son into believing he had Ebola, in footage they posted to Vine with the caption “When you lie and tell a bad ass kid they got Ebola (crying emoji times four) #Ebola #funny.” They were, unsurprisingly, labeled “Heartless” on YouTube. Ditto for the father who paid back his kids for staying up too late watching scary movies, with a nighttime visit from him wearing a clown mask and holding up a chainsaw. Re-posted on YouTube from an old America’s Funniest Home Videos episode, people were still fired up about the footage just a few months ago. Wrote one commenter: “Jokes on you, you’ll be paying for their therapy for the next 20 years.”
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But perhaps the biggest dis for Atwood came from the original king of reality television pranks, MTV’s Punk’d creator Ashton Kutcher. On December 3, the actor tweeted the vlogger, “Too far bro,” with a clip of the prank. Still, Atwood – who counts over 4.5 million daily subscribers on his YouTube prank channel and vlogs – is undaunted. He responded on Twitter: “When Ashton Kutcher tells you you’ve gone to far you know YOU’RE DOING something RIGHT. Its a honor homie.”