YouTube pranksters admit to faking hitchBOT destruction video
Internet star Jesse Wellens says footage was faked, but that he was not behind robot's demise
A pair of YouTube pranksters have admitted to faking a surveillance video that purported to show the destruction of the hitchhiking Canadian robot hitchBOT.
YouTube star Jesse Wellens of PrankvsPrank and his friend Ed Bassmaster revealed in a new video how they faked the footage. However, Wellens denies that they were the ones who destroyed hitchBOT.
"I edited the video to look like a true 'surveillance video' and I sent it off to the news because they had all been asking me for interviews and information. The reporters began reporting, showing the footage, and the alleged killer of this so-called famous robot!" wrote Wellens in the YouTube post.
HitchBOT was only two weeks into its first tour across the U.S. when it was destroyed in Philadelphia.
The Canadian researchers responsible for hitchBOT, a child-sized "social robot" famous for its cross-country travels, confirmed over the weekend that their creation had been destroyed beyond repair.
Wellens and Bassmaster were the last people to have picked up the robot on what was meant to be a cross-country trip.
"We were upset about the vandalism of hitchBOT and went in search to find any surveillance footage of the area that may have existed, so we could find out who the killer was!" wrote Wellens.
"We had no luck, and then the idea sparked for us to create fake surveillance footage of 'Always Teste,' Ed's character and PRANK THE NEWS!" he wrote.
Wellens is also the sole source of the purported security tape, which he released on Snapchat and sent to several reporters Monday.
Some of the pranksters' fans congratulated them for getting news organizations around the world to run their faked footage.
"This is genius. I love it when Ed and Jesse prank. It literally went worldwide. I saw it on my news channel," wrote Dylan G on YouTube.
Others were not so enthusiastic about the fake video.
<a href="https://twitter.com/Jessewelle">@Jessewelle</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/edbassmaster">@edbassmaster</a> pranked the entire world!! You can't beat that saan <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/HitchBotPrank?src=hash">#HitchBotPrank</a>—@14alvinp
In a statement released Wednesday morning, hitchBOT's creators reiterated that they have "no interest in pressing charges or finding the people who vandalized the robot."
"While the family is saddened by the loss of hitchBOT, they do need to return to their human lives," reads the statement on hitchBOT's Facebook page. "They wish to remember the good times and encourage hitchBOT's friends and fans to do the same."