The University of Southern California has filed a lawsuit against two YouTubers who have been disrupting classes to film “prank” videos.
Ernest Kanevsky and Yuguo Bai film non-consensual public pranks for posting on Youtube, with only around 100k subscribers. That sounds like a lot, but a Youtuber at that tier typically makes between $3,000 and $6,000 a year from their channel. In a bid to increase his viewership, Kanevsky has been targeting universities. Before coming to USC, he and Bai staged similar “pranks” at the University of California Los Angeles, and California State University Long Beach. They are not students at any of the schools involved, or any other.
On March 29th, in their third such invasion at the University of Southern California, the two barged into a lecture on the Holocaust on USC’s downtown LA Campus. Kanevsky was in costume as what he called “a member of the Russian Mafia,” and Bai was performing as Hugo Boss, the major manufacturer of Nazi uniforms during WWII. Shouting over the lecturer, they pretended to get into a loud argument. Understandably disturbed and fearing violence, many students and the professor fled the classroom.
“While it appears that the event was a part of some kind of prank, the intrusion naturally created panic, as lectures on the Holocaust, antisemitism, and racism have previously been targets for harassment and violence,” wrote Professor Ratskoff in an email to his students. “I myself made the split-second decision that it was better to follow those fleeing students rather than to wait and see if this was indeed a prank.”
While Kanevsky and Bai have previously always been able to flee the scene, this time they were arrested by the Los Angeles Police Department. A judge granted USC temporary restraining orders against the pair, and the lawsuit is seeking damages on behalf of the students and faculty involved against their will.
(In order to not give the pair any more traffic for their unethical “pranks,” there are no links to their channel or video in this post.)
Photo: Kit Leong / Shutterstock