YouTuber Facing Backlash For “Calling” Kobe Bryant After His Death

Kobe Bryant’s death has led to an outpouring of grief from people who knew him and people who never met him but whose lives he touched in some way or another.

It’s a tragedy that has resonated throughout the entire country, and beyond. And while there will always be controversial responses to the death of a public figure like Kobe Bryant, it’s particularly horrifying when those responses come in the form of someone crassly trying to capitalize on a tragedy.

A trend has gone around YouTube for a while in which YouTubers post videos in which they attempt to contact dead people, usually celebrities, because of clickbait. And while one might hope that people would have the decency not to immediately profit off Bryant’s death in this way, that was, of course, not the case.

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via YouTube

A YouTuber named Jolto uploaded a video claiming to have successfully called Bryant only hours after he died.

In a video titled “CALLING KOBE BRYANT AT 3 AM! *OMG HE ACTUALLY ANSWERED* (HES NOT DEAD),” Jolto, whose real name is Josh Giles, tells viewers that he found Bryant’s number on the dark web and started texting with him—and that Bryant responded. He also claimed he would leak the number if enough people commented.

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“I have been looking for hours guys, and I think I have managed to find Kobe’s number,” says Jolto. “This is so scary. I don’t know what’s gonna happen.” He fakes a text message conversation with Bryant in which the late NBA star “writes” that he “didn’t want anything to do with the mainstream media anymore” and was “looking for a way out.”

Jolto proceeds to fake a voice call with Bryant—”help me,” replies a distorted voice on the line, and “you should not have called,” before hanging up.

While this format is obviously a hoax that nobody would fall for, it can hardly be called harmless when it pokes at such an open wound for so many.

Jolto eventually deleted his entire channel after the backlash, but re-uploads have been shared several times, so the world can have a record of what an awful choice this was.

But he wasn’t the only YouTuber to make a video like this.

YouTuber ItsJack did basically the exact same thing, telling viewers that he had Bryant’s phone number and would share it if there was enough interest.

ItsJack received similar backlash, and made the video unlisted, though it’s still viewable through the original link.

The moral of the story? Don’t try to capitalize on someone’s death–celebrity or not. You’d think they would have learned this by now.

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