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Brother claims viral video of homeless man giving back $100 is a hoax

Is it all too good to be true?


Rae Votta


Posted on Jan 1, 2015   Updated on May 29, 2021, 8:55 pm CDT

A video that has been viewed over 29 million times and helped raise $130,000 in the name of a homeless man may be a hoax, according to a man claiming to be the subject’s brother. 

In the Dec. 29 video, YouTuber Josh Paler Lin gives $100 to a person he claimed was homeless to see what he’d do with the money by secretly filming him. In the video the man buys food for other homeless people instead of alcohol for himself. However, the video’s authenticity has been called in to question on several fronts.

An alleged eyewitness to the filming of the video told Vocativ that the entire thing was staged, saying she saw Lin and the homeless man “Thomas” arrive at the liquor store together and that “Thomas” knew he was being filmed. Now, a man who claims that “Thomas” is actually his brother Kenny has come forward to further expose the video.

Kevin Nickel told KCBS-TV fears his brother Kenny is being manipulated by Lin and claims that he’s actually set to inherit thousands. He showed KCBS-TV family pictures of Kenny to back up his claim. Lin is currently running an Indiegogo campaign that has raised more then $130,000 for “Thomas.” Lin, who normally trades in “prank” videos, has followed up his viral hit with another video featuring “Thomas” getting a holiday makeover

The Daily Dot reached out to Lin for comment, and we’ll update this story if he responds.

H/T Gawker | Screengrab via JoshPalerLin/YouTube.

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*First Published: Jan 1, 2015, 7:46 pm CST