NBA superstar and inspiration to many, Kobe Bryant, tragically passed away along with his daughter Gianna and seven other passengers in a helicopter crash on January 26 — but that isn’t stopping some YouTubers from capitalizing on the accident.
While the world mourned the unexpected and shocking passing of the nine victims, YouTuber “Jolto” took things a step further, claiming to have “called” Bryant after his death and even claiming that the basketball legend was alive.
In a video titled, “CALLING KOBE BRYANT AT 3 AM! *OMG HE ACTUALLY ANSWERED* (HES NOT DEAD),” Jolto faked a series of text messages with Bryant, the number of whom he’d allegedly procured from the “dark web.”
According to the phony messages, Kobe “didn’t want anything to do with the mainstream media anymore” and was “looking for a way out.”
That’s not all: the two even got on a fake “phone call,” where a disturbingly distorted voice called out, “Help me.”
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Needless to say, Jolto’s video incited criticism across social media, with many accusing the YouTuber of using Bryant’s death as a means to score views.
“Nah I feel he deserves every ounce of criticism,” one user wrote. “Fair enough if he made a joke on the whim offline, but he physically went through the process to upload this to a website.”
“...I prayed that this wasn’t going to happen but of course it did,” another commented. “He constantly says ‘I feel so bad,’ and s**t like that, but then continues to disrespect to Kobe and his family.”
Still others compared him to the ongoing scandal surrounding fellow YouTuber “Jaystation,” who is similarly coming under fire for seemingly faking the death of his girlfriend and even conversing with her via Ouija Board.
Since then, Jolto’s YouTube channel has been deleted, with the offensive video being re-uploaded on separate channels across the site.
While Jolto’s video was certainly offensive, YouTube commentator “WillNE” urged viewers not to “witch hunt” the young creator, calling his upload a “dumb mistake” — one that will hopefully teach him a valuable lesson for future videos.