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In news that seemed obvious from the beginning, teen YouTube star Danielle Cohn admitted she’s not pregnant and not married and that she created a four-part series simply to prank people.
And probably because it got her millions of clicks and all kinds of national notoriety.
Cohn—who says she’s 15 but who has also been cited as young as 13 and as old as 17—recently told her family and the family of her boyfriend Mikey Tua that she was pregnant. Then, they pretended to get married—all for YouTube views, her mother later said.
But in the final vlog of the couple’s four-part series, titled “Our Gender Reveal,” Cohn (1.2 million YouTube subscribers) and Tua admitted they made up the entire story.
In the monetized video (and it feels like there is an excessive number of ads on this particular vlog), the two invited their friends to a gender reveal party before the couple—who combines for more than 4.1 million Instagram followers—admitted that it was all one big prank.
Then, Cohn and Tua sat in front of a camera and tepidly apologized if anybody was offended. Tua said they don’t take teen pregnancy lightly (despite, you know, all the YouTube videos) and said it was supposed to be entertainment and “to give you guys something to talk about.”
“If you got offended or if you looked at it in a wrong way, that’s definitely not what we were trying to do,” said Cohn, who said she will donate 15 percent of her YouTube earnings off the latest video to Planned Parenthood. “We were just trying to make a fun video. Pranking our parents, pranking you guys. We’ve always seen pranks on YouTube, we thought it would be fun to prank you guys. We definitely didn’t think it would go as far as it did.”
Yet, it was designed to do exactly that. Earlier this month, they both tweeted a supposed due date at the same time, and there were multiple Instagram posts about Cohn’s pregnancy and their marriage. Overall, all four YouTube videos have combined for about 9 million views (as of this writing).
In the latest video, Cohn and Tua turned serious and said that teens should use protection during sex, and if somebody gets pregnant, they should communicate with their parents.
People, though, didn’t find the prank funny.
As one person tweeted earlier this week, “This whole thing is just a terrible terrible prank. I’ve had 5 miscarriages and this is not something to joke about.”
I personally know a few teen mums who rooted for you because they know the REAL struggle of teen pregnancy being kicked out disowned forced to abort it or forced to keep it faking being pregnant isn’t cute
— Carly (@bbg78797993) April 19, 2019
The reality is Cohn and Tua gained plenty of views, plenty of money from all of the ads that were sold, and plenty of media attention. As Cohn’s mother, Jennifer, told BuzzFeed earlier this week when describing the fake marriage video, “It was a YouTube video like most YouTube people do for clickbait.”
Josh Katzowitz is a staff writer at the Daily Dot specializing in YouTube and boxing. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times. A longtime sports writer, he's covered the NFL for CBSSports.com and boxing for Forbes. His work has been noted twice in the Best American Sports Writing book series.