A woman holding a fake cat on a plane.

@lenawtflol/Twitter

Viral airplane breastfeeding TikTok was cooked up by a Facebook content mill

The Facebook page also posts those weird food hack videos.

 

Audra Schroeder

Internet Culture

Published Dec 21, 2021   Updated Dec 22, 2021, 2:54 pm CST

A staged TikTok of a woman breastfeeding a cat on a plane has racked up millions of hits, but it appears to have come from a Facebook “prank” page. 

In a four-part series posted to the account alessiavaesenn, a familiar scene unfolds: A passenger has caused a disturbance by allegedly breastfeeding a cat, according to the man on the other side of the aisle. A flight attendant gets involved and a dispute ensues, leading up to a big reveal.  

Collectively, the four videos have more than 40 million views on TikTok. “Is this an ad for first class?” a commenter wrote on one TikTok. “I bet this flight is either from or to New York,” joked another. 

Though the videos are fake, it appears to be parodying an alleged incident in which a woman on a Delta flight from Syracuse to Atlanta was captured breastfeeding a hairless cat. A flight attendant who claims she saw what happened posted an unconfirmed account on TikTok in early November, and said the feline was “screaming for its life.”

While many commenters acknowledged it’s fake, or a “reenactment,” that didn’t stop people from demanding follow-ups. The TikToks quickly spread to Twitter, where they saw millions more views, first via a clickbait thread from account BoredAtGym, captioned “IM DYING LMAOOO WHITE WOMEN.”

The alessiavaesenn TikTok account only has six TikToks up; the two more recent ones are of a bizarre hair-transplant “reveal,” and the account acknowledges those are “fake but still funny tho.” The captions on most of the TikToks are in Dutch. 

As Rolling Stone’s EJ Dickson points out, the woman in the video appears to be Anna Rothfuss, a creator who went viral on TikTok for making gross food hacks and doing pranks. The cat series doesn’t appear on Rothfuss’ account, but there is another recent TikTok featuring a similar cabin shot

https://www.tiktok.com/@bananalovesyoutoo/video/7042734157767773446/

Writer Ryan Broderick sourced the original plane video to a Facebook page called The Gooch, which posts videos of pranks and weird food hacks. On Dec. 16, the account posted the first plane video with the disclaimer that “this page’s videos and live videos are intended for entertainment purposes only.” The gray-haired man featured in the account’s photos looks similar to a man playing a flight attendant in the plane video, though he is wearing a mask. The woman who plays the other flight attendant appears in a lot of Gooch content.

The Facebook page was created in December 2020 and has more than 98,000 followers.

Broderick, who reported on another network of Facebook-assisted food hack content in May, said the hair transplant TikToks have the “unmistakable production quality of a Facebook content network,” including “porn lighting.” 

What’s impressive is how the video jumped from Facebook, where it had a little more than 1,000 shares (and a disclaimer), to TikTok, where it exploded but people were still skeptical, to Twitter, where more people believed it was real.

There are several other staged plane videos on the page, as well as more videos featuring Rothfuss. We reached out to The Gooch for comment. 

Update, Dec. 22, 2pm CT: The original 4-part series was deleted from the TikTok account but was recently re-uploaded.

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*First Published: Dec 21, 2021, 2:03 pm CST