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YouTube star the King of Random turns felonies into teachable moments

In 18 months, his record could be cleared.

May 22, 2018, 12:30 pm

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Josh Katzowitz

YouTube star the King of Random will continue to make science experiments for his 9.3 million subscribers. Only now, after striking a plea deal that allows him to avoid two felony charges for causing explosions in his backyard, the YouTuber wants to help educate other experimenters about how to avoid violating the law.

“From the beginning, I’ve personally worked diligently to be safe and responsible in all my activities and to be highly considerate of all my neighbors,” the King of Random, aka Grant Thompson, told the Daily Dot in an email. “To the best of my knowledge, I’ve always been compliant with local laws. However, as my attorney can tell you, there are over 10,000 local laws here, and some of them [are] vague and open to interpretation.”

Two months after his neighbors complained about explosions coming from his house, Thompson was arrested in August after another explosion slightly injured one of his friends. Thompson says he has a great relationship with the community and maintains that the legal mess came from one neighbor in particular.

“[T]here is one lady in our neighborhood who has the reputation of being a nuisance complainer, and despite all our best efforts, she has actively attacked us since the day we moved in. In talking with all my other neighbors, it seems we aren’t the only ones,” he says.

“We always believed that the initial felony charges were a mistake,” Thompson’s lawyer, Steve Burton, told the Associated Press.

Now, those two original felony charges have been dismissed, and last week, as noted by the Salt Lake City Tribune, he pleaded no contest to one count of misdemeanor recklessness with an incendiary device.

Thompson agreed to make two safety videos—has lawyer said it was actually Thompson’s idea—and if he stays on good behavior for the next 18 months, his record would be cleared. Thompson said one of the videos will feature all the safety equipment and the safety procedures his team uses behind the scenes to avoid harm. The other video will discuss the legal risks associated with backyard experimenting.

“My attorney and I worked out a deal with the state prosecutor to help educate others like me, who may be violating local laws without knowing it,” Thompson said.

Burton told the Tribune that the South Jordan, Utah, fire and police departments were aware of Thompson’s channel long before he got in trouble with the law. Also included in the plea deal is that Thompson agreed not to make “exceptionally loud noises” on his property that could disturb his neighbors.

Said Thompson: “My goal with the King of Random YouTube channel has always been to share the excitement of experimenting and creating something new, inspiring others to think outside the box. The state prosecutor, the mayor and the fire marshals all recognize that, and are working together with us to help educate the general public on how to be safer backyard experiments.”

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*First Published: May 22, 2018, 12:30 pm