TikTok star, YouTuber, and noted prankster Sebastian Bails has responded to fan outrage after posting a video pranking his girlfriend Lauren Godwin by tricking her into thinking he was enlisting into the U.S. military.
Like many online entertainers before him, Bails is a noted practical joker, having pulled a number of pranks on his girlfriend, Lauren Godwin, which he uploads to his YouTube channel.
While he’s orchestrated fake proposals, cheating scandals, and more to “prank” Godwin, none of his past shenanigans have sparked as much backlash as his most recent upload, where he pretended to enlist in the United States military.
Bails convinced Godwin that he “couldn’t do social media forever” and claimed that his makeup artistry was “meaningless,” prompting an emotional reaction from his girlfriend at the prospect of him giving up his life as an influencer to join the armed forces.
However, at the beginning of his video, Bails put out a “huge” disclaimer, claiming that his video meant no disrespect to those currently enlisted in the military or veterans — a statement that was brought up after his video incited outrage from viewers.
“There are people risking their lives for our country, families going through extremely hard times, including mine, because of it, and you’re out here worried about an expensive green duffel bag for a disrespectful prank,” one critic wrote. “This is so completely disrespectful to use this for content. This was not ok.”
“This is unacceptable,” another said. “Some people actually have to go into the military, and leave their families. Unfortunately, some never return. ...Please consider removing this video.”
Bails responded to the backlash in an Instagram direct message a day later, reiterating his disclaimer and comparing his prank to Hollywood war movies while also noting that he’d bought his “uniform” as a costume from Party City.
“If it is so bad to wear this costume, then why does Party City sell it?” he argued. “And why are there actors getting paid millions of dollars to act and pretend to be in the army for a movie?”
Needless to say, critics still aren’t happy with his response to the matter, and are taking issue with his other pranks, as well, leading to mass calls for “cancelling” the influencer over his divisive practical jokes.