Backlash as homeless man 'helped' in viral video revealed to be actor
A video depicting a heart warming gesture in which three German students from Offenburg helped a homeless man has gone viral.
The video, which has clocked up almost 10 million views, was originally received very well until the makers of the clip, a group called 'Be Japy' revealed that the homeless man was in fact an actor.
A backlash then started as viewers were outraged that such a ploy was used, accusing the makers of using the case of homeless people to “gain fame and fortune on YouTube.”
In the video, a student is seen asking to borrow the bucket from the homeless man and begins to drum a tune on it. He is then joined by two friends who join in and the trio start collecting donations to help the homeless man.
In response to the criticism of using an actor, the students responded by writing in the YouTube description that they had in fact done a similar gesture for a homeless person in need of real help (which was not filmed), but they said they didn't want to film a person in distress and put it up on the internet, so they hired an actor to highlight the cause instead.
“In May of this year, we performed like this with more songs and WITHOUT a camera. We liked the message of what we were doing so we decided to turn it into a video in order to encourage others to possibly do the same,” they said.
“Before filming we asked ourselves the following question: Can we simply film a person in distress and put it up on the internet, without asking them or knowing their history? Our answer is quite clearly no, which is why we have hired an actor to take on this role.”
While their efforts were done to highlight a noble cause, they did apologise for any upset. “If we have hurt or disappointed anyone, we are very sorry. Of course that was not our intention,” they added.