On Monday, YouTube “star” Joey Salads claimed he had damning evidence that the “black community is very violent toward [Republican presidential nominee] Donald Trump and his supporters.”
By Tuesday, YouTube “star” Joey Salads, a 22-year-old whose real name is Joseph Saladino, was asking for forgiveness for staging anti-Trump violence in a “black neighborhood.”
On October 17, Salads accrued more than a million views on his most newsworthy “social experiment” yet: “Trump Car DESTROYED in Black Neighborhood (Social Experiment).”
In the video, he explains how his “social experiment” will show how black people behave violently toward Donald Trump.
“You may have seen on the internet and through the polls that a lot of black people don’t like Trump,” he says in the video. “And they don’t even like his supporters in some cases. So what I did was, I got a car, put some Trump apparel on it, and we’re gonna park it in a black neighborhood and see what happens.”
After the intro, 30 minutes pass, according to the video. Then, captured by what appears to be hidden-camera footage, a black man with his face blurred walks up to the car. He calls up friends, and within 15 minutes the man is joined by four other black men.
After opening the doors and trunk of the inexplicably unlocked car, the group spends about 30 seconds attacking the car with a metal pipe and a rock, smashing the car’s windows while ripping off some of the Trump signs attached to the car. Then, as quickly as they arrived, they run away.
“As you can see from this video, the black community is very violent toward Trump and his supporters,” Salads says earnestly at the end of the video.
Within hours of its posting to Salads’ more than 1.4 million YouTube subscribers, the video went viral, racking up more than a million views. It was even featured at the top of The Drudge Report.
The only problem? The entire video was staged.
Pedro Torres said he was on the fifth floor of a building in Staten Island’s Park Hill neighborhood, when he saw the video being shot in a parking lot outside.
“To be honest with you I was just chilling and I look outside the window and see Joey,” Torres, 17, told The Daily Beast. “I [know he’s] known for making shitty vids, and I [know] they were all fake. I wanted to show the world that the videos were actually fake.”
Torres took out his phone and filmed Salads shooting the intro of the video, catching the black men who supposedly spontaneously found and attacked the car waiting patiently just behind a camera tripod.
The men’s clothing matches the exact outfits of the men filmed in the video. Viewers also noticed that the metal pipe used to smash the car mysteriously appears in the shot after Salads finishes his intro.
Torres waited to share his clips until after Salads posted his video, then tweeted his phone footage out to popular YouTube duo h3h3Productions, who have criticized Salads in the past. Within hours, other internet personalities picked up on the fakery, and Salads was getting dragged left and right on social media.
When reached by email, Salads said he was “sorry,” but that he wasn’t “gonna answer any more questions,” and referred The Daily Beast to his latest apology video.
In this latest apology video, Salads says he’s turned the “Trump Car” video to private, which he says has cost him “thousands of dollars” in ad revenue from YouTube. He also claims that his whole original plan was to go to “these black communities” and donate thousands of dollars to homeless shelters and orphanages.
Salads is widely known on YouTube for his “prank” videos, which regularly rack up millions of views. Salads’s “pranks” aren’t the lighthearted type that might immediately spring to mind, like Jimmy Kimmel tricking kids out of their Halloween candy or even Ashton Kutcher scaring celebrities on “Punk’d”.
Salads specializes in this unique brand of ham-handed, race-baiting “pranks.” As The Daily Beast’s Samantha Allen said of a similar YouTuber, he’s one of a group of “self-declared YouTube pranksters” who “cross boundaries of human decency at will and then laugh off their indiscretions.”
Salads’ most-viewed video on his YouTube channel is titled “Roofied Drink (Social Experiment).” In the two-minute clip, Salads provides a blueprint for drugging women’s drinks at a bar, concluding that “it is pretty easy to drug a girl” and warning that women should “never let your drink out of your sight.”
Other videos have been picked up by rightwing news blogs like The Daily Caller, who blared “YouTube Prankster Attacked For Holding ‘All Lives Matter’ Sign In Black Neighborhood” in a headline.
Salads once dressed up as an Islamic terrorist and threatened people with fake bombs in a video uploaded just one day after the Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando. He’s put on a wig and a dress and entered public bathrooms to “dress and act like a transgender,” concluding that “most women are not comfortable sharing a bathroom with a trans person.” He’s filmed nearly a dozen “Funny Public Hood Pranks,” where he attempts to anger black and Latino men on camera by tricking them into thinking he has called them racial slurs.
In his initial apology video, “prankster” Salads took to his personal Vlogging YouTube channel to reflect on his misdeeds. His explanation for the fakery?
“The purpose of the original video was to get people’s reactions to that scene,” he said in the response video. “Will they join in? Will they call the cops? Will they try to stop them?”“But as I was editing the video,” he continues later, “I was like, I could easily make this go a total different direction, and I basically re-edited it to make it look like something else happened that didn’t.“And I apologize for that, and I definitely will never do something like that again. I thought I could of got away with it, but I didn’t.”
Salads then said he would make “a couple more” prank videos, but promised he planned on “doing more stuff that couldn’t possibly be fake.”