The payoff comes when the video fools not only its witnesses, but the publications that report on them. And for that, “Native New Yorker” Zeeshan Ali and his muscular manhandler Daniel Jean win today’s lottery for tricking the internet.
On Monday, Facebook user Kara Flagg uploaded a 23-second video allegedly depicting an Uber passenger getting thrown into a Manhattan fountain.
“Don’t disrespect your uber driver…or anyone for that matter. 😮 #deserved #worldstar,” Flagg captioned the video.
In the clip, two men appear to struggle before one lifts the other and tosses him into the fountain. The thrown man attempts to break his fall by stumbling over the fountain’s perimeter before splashing into the water. Bystanders are heard saying, “No, no, no,” and cheering at the spectacle. The thrower then rips apart a bag as he yells, “Are you fucking kidding me?”
“Fuck you piece of shit,” he yells as the other man begins climbing out of the fountain.
“New York City… Oh, New York City,” the woman recording the video says, panning the video over to another woman who gives the camera a look of disbelief.
In the comments of the video, Flagg described the moments leading up to the violent fountain toss.
“The little guy kept going and going with his mouth ’till the big guy got out and asked him to exit the vehicle. Once he got him out the little guy KEPT going and he very clearly warned to stop. The little guy ended up smacking the big guy square in the face. And then the grab and toss occurred. He was warned,” Flagg explained.
She described the thrown man’s legs as having “flapped in the wind” like “out of a cartoon.”
“He wouldn’t quit,” Flagg wrote. “It was deserved.”
Less than a day after sharing the video online, Flagg’s clip received thousands of views and hundreds of shares. News website Mediaite took the video as legit.
However, several of Flagg’s viewers recognized the “driver” in the video, as well as his drenched passenger. These were not typical irate New Yorkers but actors who make sketch and prank videos of this sort and post them to Instagram and YouTube. Jean played the role of the fed-up driver, while Ali was the disrespectful rag doll. And together, they stumped real-life witnesses and onlinw viewers.
On Tuesday, Ali shared his own video of the fountain-tossing, showing how he had slapped Jean in the face as Flagg had mentioned. The video pauses right before he’s tossed, however, and resumes when he lands into the water.
Ali’s Instagram page, “Prince Zee,” showcases various other video clips of his New York stunts—many of which feature him wearing nothing but a flashy, gold Speedo thong—as well as scripted material. Ali shaves shirtless on the subway, ice skates in his thong at the Rockefeller Center, and slowly strips down in Time Square with a group of friends.
Jean’s Instagram, meanwhile, shows him taking down other loud-mouthed assholes like Ali and throwing other people out of his van in the streets of New York. His feed, fielding 218,000 followers, is interspersed with snapshots of himself with celebrities such as Cardi B and Nick Cannon, and candid videos with his two daughters (Jean appears to advertise himself for “luxury service, rentals, hosting, acting” and more, as other posts depict him to be a bodyguard of sorts). In the hours following the fountain video’s virality, however, Jean has made his account private.
In a video Jean posted earlier this month, Ali waits in line for a bus in Brooklyn as a woman approaches him, Jean in tow, and points for Jean to “get him.” Jean then takes a black plastic bag and covers Ali with it, picking him up and carrying him into a black van as Ali’s legs flail, pleading for Jean to get off him. Another video from Jean’s account shows him slamming Ali to the ground outside a restaurant in Brooklyn.
Unfortunately, there’s overt sexism in some of these videos (in one, Jean slams Ali on the ground because he’s with a woman who Jean had “warned” about dating other people, the video description reads). But a majority of these clips between Ali and Jean focus on public stunts executed in the dense streets of New York as a means of attracting onlookers who will watch in disbelief but still record the interaction because everything in the city is unbelievably believable.
After her viral video bubble burst, Flagg posted on her Facebook video to inform viewers that she learned the “fight” between Ali and Jean was staged, commending the two for their acting. Mediaite, too, has since updated its story and deleted an accompanying tweet showcasing a portion of the video.
Ali and Jean did not immediately respond to the Daily Dot’s requests for comment.