Coronavirus pranks are now a thing. Don’t believe us? Just do a search for them and you’ll find a dozen or so of these so-called ‘social experiments’, some decidedly less funny than others.
In a prank gone too far conducted in Moscow, subway passengers were sent fleeing in panic after a man suddenly collapsed in a subway train and began convulsing.
A few people rush to help, but after someone shouts “Coronavirus!”, all hell breaks loose and everyone decides to flee.
The video was uploaded to Youtube and Instagram by Russian prank collective Kara.Prank before subsequently being reported and taken down.
Russian netizens were not amused. “Send these ‘pranksters’ to Wuhan and let them have fun,” wrote one. “If someone gets an epileptic fit, who the hell will help?” read another comment. “Everyone will run away after someone shouts ‘coronavirus’.”
Following his arrest by Moscow police, the serial prankster Karomat Dzhaborov, a Tajikistani, is now facing a 5-year jail sentence if he is found guilty of hooliganism (which, by the way, is a Soviet-era catch-all charge for prosecuting unapproved behavior that even China saw fit to discard ages ago).
Dzhaborov’s lawyer says he did not mean to cause panic and that the social experiment was meant to draw attention to the need for people to protect themselves with face masks (yeah, right).
In a separate incident, a Canadian man by the name of James Potok on board a flight from Toronto to Montego Bay, Jamaica, stood up mid-flight to make the following announcement: “Can I have everybody’s attention. I just came back from Hunan province, the capital of the coronavirus. I’m not feeling too well. Thank you.”
The captain of the flight did not find that funny. Flight attendants made the prankster put on a mask and gloves and made him sit at the back of the plane while the flight immediately turned back to Pearson Airport, where he was medically inspected, found to be free of any coronavirus, and then arrested and charged by police with mischief.
243 other people were on board that flight, looking forward to a vacation in Jamaica.
Speaking to local media, the 28-year-old said he was just “looking to get a viral video”.
“I’m an artist,” he said. “Any publicity for myself is good publicity.”
“It seems to me like this was in poor taste, in retrospect,” he said. “What I did was wrong. I ruined the flight for 200 and somewhat people. I ruined their flight.”
Watch the jackass try to defend himself here.