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YouTube prankster sued by In-N-Out Burger

#Funny? #JustAPrank? Nah. How about instead #Lawsuit, #RestrainingOrder, #$25KInDamages?

California burger chain In-N-Out Burger is not amused by YouTube prankster Cody Roeder, whose antics have included pretending to be the company’s CEO and telling a customer that their meal was “contaminated” and “garbage.”
Roeder films pranks for his YouTube channel, Troll Munchies. You can see his prior pranks on that channel – the picking up girls/embarrassing Mom prank, “hilarious fart vape pen” and the like – but the In-N-Out videos posted two weeks ago have since been made private, according to the BBC.
That’s likely because it’s gotten Roeder in a bit of a legal pickle. In-N-Out last week sought a restraining order against the prankster and his film crew. It also filed a lawsuit that claims that Roeder’s two recent pranks caused “significant and irreparable” harm to the chain. The suit seeks damages of more than $25,000.
CBS Los Angeles, which featured some footage taken of Roeder’s pranks in its own news coverage, says that early last month, Roeder put on a dark suit, walked into an In-N-Out in Van Nuys, and claimed to be their CEO.
“Hey, I’m your new CEO,” he said. “Just doing a little surprise visit.”

Some of the employees believed him, but the manager wasn’t convinced. She asked him to step away from behind the counter, as Roeder told employees he wanted a cheeseburger and fries for a taste test. He left after employees called police.
Roeder wasn’t done with the prank, though. The next day, he went to a Burbank In-N-Out, again claimed to be the new CEO, and this time demanded to talk to the manager about “contamination” of the food, saying:

All of this is unsanitary, most of this is dog meat. Sir, sir, I hate to say this… but your food is contaminated. This is just, it’s garbage.

He then told a customer that he needed to take his food. Then, he dropped the customer’s burger on the floor, said “It’s garbage,” and stepped on it.
Employees again told him to leave.
In-N-Out said in a statement that it won’t put up with people using the chain’s restaurants, employees and customers in their lust for social media fame:

These visitors have unfortunately used deceit, fraud, and trespass to their own advantage, and in each instance, they have attempted to humiliate, offend or otherwise make our customers or associates uncomfortable. We believe that we must act now and we will continue to take action in the future to protect our customers and associates from these disruptions.

This isn’t the first time that self-styled pranksters have gotten into serious trouble.

  • In 2016, four members of the YouTube channel TrollStation – known then as the septic tank of prankster sites – were jailed for staging and filming fake robberies and kidnappings. Their aggressive and/or violent public antics have included trolls enacting brawls and smashing each other in the head with bottles made out of sugar.
  • Last year, a couple in the US reportedly lost custody of two of their five children, whom they had filmed while screaming profanities at them, breaking their toys as a “prank” and blaming them for things they didn’t do. Some of the videos, posted to their DaddyOFive YouTube channel, showed the kids crying and being pushed, punched and slapped.
  • In February, Australian YouTube prankster Luke Erwin was fined $1,200 for jumping off a 15-meter-high Brisbane bridge in the viral “silly salmon” stunt.
  • US YouTube prankster Pedro Ruiz III was killed last year by his girlfriend and the mother of his children after insisting that she shoot a .50 caliber bullet through an encyclopedia he was holding in front of his chest. She’s now serving a 180-day jail term.

Can YouTube stop this madness?
YouTube is already making moves to regulate controversial videos. Last month, the site revealed that it’s planning to slap excerpts from Wikipedia and other websites onto pages containing videos about hoaxes and conspiracy theories, for one thing.
But prank videos? They’re click-gold, and that’s apparently helping to keep them from being regulated.
As Amelia Tait has described it for New Statesman, and as the YouTube channel Nerd City has made painfully clear, the enormously popular and insanely dangerous pranking culture shrugs off critics with catchphrases such as “it was a social experiment,” “block the haters,” and “It’s just a prank, bro.”
Both the quest for fame and the profit to be made off ads on these prankster videos are causing an arms race to the bottom as shock-jocks try ever harder, more dangerous, more violent and more illegal stunts.
These aren’t just pranks. These are videos in which people get hurt, or worse. Children get punched, tampons get coated in hot pepper, and their makers use the hashtag “funny”.
In-N-Out Burger, we’re with you. We aren’t laughing either.


Good. Pranks nowadays just have become “being an a-hole in public”. I just hope they get fined a lot more than they made with their videos, and I hope more companies start to take legal action against those morons.


I’m all for humor and the occasional prank is fine but I find nothing funny with this type of pranking. You come into my business with this foolishness and I will make sure that you will not find you antics so amusing. I am not a litigious person but you will have come into my business for your own fraudulent purpose and intent. Think about what your actions will do to the person or business you prank and what the consequences of your actions could cost you. For Mister Ruiz it was his life and his wife it was jail time.


So there are pranks and then there is this. Honestly would be okay with them locking this kid up for a few months.


Best thing to do would be to include YouTube in the lawsuit, with larger financial penalties. Hit them where it hurts and they will cooperate more.


Impossible. Do you imagine yourself watching millions of videos everyday trying to determine which are pranks and which aren’t? and then telling if a prank video overreaches itself and is possible to create a lawsuit? Afterwards countless of people trying to do the same to take money of Youtube if the lawsuit works?
In my personal opinion it would be impossible to me. I don’t even know if the A.I. has improven as much as to be able to tell such things. One should only be liable for what one does as only those actions can be controlled.
Don’t think: Google can definitely pull it out. What if you were to make a page where users can upload videos and suddenly such prank video and lawsuit follow? Would you be able to do anything to avoiding it happenning?


That’s a different story. If you make YouTube responsible for what people do it is a slippery slope. Yes, they should do a better job at monitoring content for violations of their community guidelines, and they should be more consistent with it. But they can’t be held accountable for what people do, just because they choose to upload it to YouTube. If you set a precedent for that any platform like YouTube would probably die as a result. No company would take the risk of being liable for what other people do. YouTube is responsible for showing and/or promoting videos it shouldn’t, but it can not and should not be responsible for the actions shown in the video.


But, if they attempt to curate the content in some cases like hate speech or fake news then they are no longer just a provider of telecom services but more like a newspaper using editorial judgement and can be libel for the content they publish.


Not really though. They don’t review any content before publishing (because it would be impossible). They just provide the infrastructure for people to upload, and they reserve the right to remove or demonetize anything that violates their guidelines if they detect it. Otherwise any online forum that doesn’t preemptively check every comment before publishing would be liable for anything anyone writes there if they attempt to have some sort of monitoring after the fact.


Agree with John, what needs to be done here is to take a bite out of Youtube, etc., for providing an outlet for this rubbish. The guy (no doubt, GUY) who did the hot sauce tampon “prank” needs to get a green chili enema, and have it filmed. My god, what f’ing morons people are.


The real problem is that this really is what way too many people, especially young people, find funny. With very few exceptions, I haven’t found a single sit-com or comedy show funny in decades. SNL, SCTV, MadTV, all of them haven’t just gone downhill, they’re not even in the toilet anymore, they’ve been flushed. It probably has to do with the dilution of talent caused by the explosion of cable TV channels. There is a certain amount of comedic talent available in the world, and when it has to be spread as thin as it is, it just doesn’t work anymore.
Back in the so-called “Golden Days” of TV, you had a single show (Your Show of Shows) with all of this talent: Mel Brooks, Neil Simon, Danny Simon, Mel Tolkin, Lucille Kallen, Selma Diamond, Joseph Stein, Michael Stewart, Tony Webster, Carl Reiner who, though a cast member, also worked with the writers, Larry Gelbart and Woody Allen. How could it NOT be funny? (Yes, it was before my time, but episodes still exist in the wild.) The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson had Johnny Carson, Dick Cavett, Mike Reiss, Andrew Nichols and Darrell Vickers as writers. Now you’re lucky to get a single funny writer on a show, and what gets written has to pass the “PC” censors.


I actually very much dislike pranking videos, because they’re constantly either harassing, embarassing, belittling, or even intentionally physically harmful, or worse! I don’t personally find any of it entertaining, fun, or funny, and it has actually caused me to stop watching a lot of the YouTube content and many of them I enjoyed until the pranks were beginning to annoy and even anger me. So I just unsubscribe and stop watching them, and watch more family oriented content.
Senseless and immoral activity should be treated as crimes against humanity and punishable by law, even include YouTube as accessories because they allow and even condone it so more people watch. And they pay these guys handsomely….Really? Well, you lost me with the pranksters, how many others are out there just like me?


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