TikToker and comedian Benito Skinner, aka @BennyDrama7, has started trending after people thought a character of his was a real White House intern. The White House is currently recruiting influencers in an effort to encourage people to take up vaccinations.
Skinner, who has nearly 900,000 followers on TikTok, regularly posts videos on his Instagram and TikTok impersonating celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and Lana Del Rey.
He has also recently started a series of videos where he pretends to be a Gen-Z intern and plays into various stereotypes about the generation.
This clearly caught the attention of the White House, with Skinner collaborating with the government building. In the video, Skinner goes through “a day in the life as a White House intern” going to different rooms in the building.
At several points, President Biden’s spokesperson Jen Psaki makes an appearance posing as Skinner’s intern’s boss. It doesn’t seem like Skinner’s character Kooper is very good at their job or works very hard.
I will continue screamin from the mountaintops that TikTok has so much pull!! Benny Drama (whose whole brand is about comedic overacting) was the most recent influencer recruited to promote the vaccine by @WhiteHouse. pic.twitter.com/uwUrq5CZb6
— Jordyn Brown (@thejordynbrown) August 9, 2021
While the initial video appears to have been taken down on TikTok via a link, there are plenty of copies posted across social media. A version without sound is still up on Skinner’s TikTok, and already has over 3 million views.
BennyDrama sparks debate with White House TikTok
Much of the initial reaction was positive, with people thinking the collaboration was a great way to encourage Gen-Zers to take up vaccinations.
One person commented “I actually really like this. It makes me feel like the White House is more approachable and less intimidating.”
Another thought it was hilarious that Lana Del Rey’s ‘National Anthem’ played in the background of the video.
Others complimented Psaki on her role in the video saying she “understood the assignment” and another said that while “Jen has better things to do”, they “would love for this to be a series.”
However, some are angry, arguing that they believe it makes the White House look like a “joke” and “sad.” Another said “this is actually what is going on in there right now” – perhaps unaware that the video was parody.
Even Donald Trump Jr., the son of the former President, weighed in.
Next they’re going to waterboard you till you get vaccinated, though there’s no way that would be worse than watching this!!! https://t.co/dliVqejHNF
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) August 9, 2021
Skinner responds to commenters
Skinner responded to the comments seeking to poke fun in his usual style. That said, some of the comments have included death threats including one saying “I’ll put a shot in ya.”
Homophobic slurs have also been used against Skinner.
The White House has not yet commented, though they appear unbothered by the criticism with the collaboration featuring in Vogue and on the main White House Instagram.