Sometimes, pranks are really, really funny. Why else would April Fool’s Day be some people’s favorite holiday?? But in the case of YouTube prank troop Trollstation’s July 2015 art gallery robbery stunt, the intended humor was quickly replaced by horror… and four of its members are now paying the consequences.
Daniel Jarvis, Endrit Ferizolli, Ebenezer Menzah and Helder Gomes were all sentenced to jail after they staged and filmed a prank where they ran into London’s National Portrait Gallery with stockings over their heads and pretended to steal paintings they had previously purchased while a fake alarm sounded through loudspeakers. But as if that wasn’t enough, they then moved on to Tate where they pretended to take a woman hostage and steal even more paintings. Britain Even though the boys were trying to be funny, the gallery’s guests were “absolutely terrified” because the stunt occurred just a week after terrorists attacked and killed 30 tourists in Tunisia, and one woman even fell unconscious and the crowd tried to run from the ‘heist.’
“We have been told that the defendants intended this a joke,” District Judge Mike Snow said. “Their sense of humor is warped and immature… It was quite foreseeable those attending the gallery, not being in on the joke, but being familiar with recent scenes of people running for their lives from terrorist acts, would be terrified and panic. And that is what happened The aggravating features in this case are the high levels of fear of violence that were experienced, the risk of death or serious injury in the stampede.”
The YouTubers, who have garnered over 700,000 subscribers on their channel, each pleaded guilty to two counts of using threatening words or behavior and will serve varying sentences. Daniel, 27, will be in jail for 20 weeks, Ebenezer, 29, and Helder, 23, will serve 18 weeks, and Endrit, 20, will spend 16 weeks in a young offenders’ institution.
“We hope these convictions send a strong message that unlawful activities such as these will not be tolerated in London,” said Robert Short, of the Crown Prosecution Service.
The Trollstation boys aren’t the first YouTubers who’ve gotten into trouble with the law:
In 2014, the beauty vlogger was accused of illegally using Ulta Records' artists' music in her videos and got sued for Copyright Infringement. According to the company, Michelle used their artists’ tracks in the background of her tutorials without properly acquiring the licenses needed to use them. The 29 year old then filed a counterclaim against the record company saying she had spoken with a representative at the company and they agreed to let her use the music. By August 2015, the vlogger and the music mogul had settled out of court, but the information surrounding that decision has not been released.
Photo: Instagram (@michellephan)
Chrissy, who is one half of the popular YouTube singing duoBria & Chrissy, asked her fans for help suing her ex-boyfriend. The 25-year-old LGBTQ vlogger revealed that when she was only 18 years old, her boyfriend at the time filmed himself sexually assaulting her and then released the video as a form of revenge porn. Because he uploaded the videos in the UK, the only way to successfully sue him was to file a lawsuit with thousands of dollars upfront.
The young social media star couldn't continue her fight against her ex and the whole concept of revenge porn without her fans' help, so she started a Generosity.com fund and within eight days exceeded her goal of earning $30,000. "This experience nearly ruined me," she wrote on the page. "It has cost me my mental and physical well-being and years of my life. I want to use my experience to help people who may be suffering the way I did, that is the only thing that will make this trauma worthwhile."
Photo: Instagram (@briaandchrissy)
After being attacked by Freelee the Banana Girl, Kayla decided to fight back… legally. The 24 year old is a popular Australian YouTuber who created Bikini Body Guide, while Leanne Ratcliffe (a.k.a. Freelee) is a YT star who consistently attacks other social media celebs for their lifestyle and food choices.
Once Freelee decided to publish defamatory claims about Kayla, saying her diet "starves" people (among other things), the Aussie took her to court for Defamation. The two bloggers eventually settled their dispute out of the legal system, but Kayla's point was definitely made.
Photo: Instagram (@kayla_itsines)
Ray William Johnson
YouTuber RWJ and his company Equals Three Studios were involved in a lawsuit back in 2014. According to reports, Equals Three had used Junkin Media's videos in an illegal way and therefore was suing the company and, in turn, the YouTuber. Equals Three countered, however, and said they were covered legally under the "fair use" provision.
After going to court, Junkin Media argued that Ray's company did not use their videos in "transformative" ways and therefore they were NOT covered under the "fair use" area. Ray eventually lost and had to pay up.
Photo: Twitter (@RayWJ)
Shoshana gained YouTube fame after starring in the viral video, "catcall." In the vid, she walks through New York City for 10 hours with a hidden camera and documented all of the sexual harassment she faced. After her documentary went viral, the star sued the video's creator and director Rob Bliss for $500,000 for "unjust enrichment, violations of her right to publicity and privacy, and violates of New York's Civil Rights Law," among other things. The YouTuber and aspiring actress also sued Hollaback! Inc., Google, YouTube and TGI Fridays, which allegedly spoofed the video in one of their ads.
Photo: Instagram (@shoshanaroberts)
Stephanie is one of the many YouTubers who has posted cute videos of her children online, but is also one of the only ones who've sued because of them. The Pennsylvania mom originally filmed her two young children dancing in the kitchen, while Prince's "Let's Go Crazy" came on in the background. Eight years later, the 29-second snippet has over a million views and has become the video other videos use to decide if their video can legally be published.
Years ago, YouTube ordered Stephanie to take down the dancing baby video due to copyright law, but they didn't check to see if the footage was protected under the "fair use" exception, so she sued Universal Music Corp. and won! Because the music company made YouTube take down the video without properly notifying the creator and seeing if the content was protected under the "fair use" clause, they wronged Stephanie and she won her lawsuit, eight years later.
Photo: Twitter (@Edenza)