Video Pranksters Steal Cellphones in the Hood, Victims Not Amused

Two brothers created an uproar with a hidden-camera video in which they punk African-Americans in a poor New York City neighborhood

Earlier this month, a video series of two brothers trying to swipe strangers’ cellphones surfaced online. What differentiated the shorts from your average YouTube prank was the unsuspecting target: African-Americans in a poor Brooklyn, New York, neighborhood. The videos—which immediately went viral and have drawn more than 1.5 million hits—generated a furious reaction, including death threats aimed at the filmmakers, Moe Etayyim, 20, and Et Etayyim, 21, of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.

For the past two years, the brothers from Palestine have tried to make a name for themselves with videos of obnoxious pranks. The geeky duo strive for maximum agitation, sliding up to subway passengers and sitting on their laps or barking ridiculous orders at fast-food workers. Their shamelessly in-your-face antics attracted a decent following, with the subway stunt getting some 300,000 viewers. But their audience still paled in comparison to YouTube sensation Yousef Saleh Erakat, aka Fousey Tube, who also dupes clueless strangers and whose classic “yoga pants” prank drew over 18 million hits.

Brownsville Tourists


Who's ready for our next video? #Brownsville is by far the deadliest HOOD we've filmed in. Alhamdulilah [Thank God] for another week we made it out alive!! Stay tuned for this Thursday!!! Posted: 25 June 2014

So this month the pair decided to up the ante. The brothers left the relatively safe, mostly white enclaves of Manhattan and took their lowbrow brand of humor to rough black neighborhoods in Broooklyn. “We wanted to take our pranks to the next level,” Moe Etayyim tells us. “The difference with people in these bad neighborhoods is they’re a bit more aggressive than people in Manhattan.”

They began by going up to mostly black people while brandishing a calculator and asking them, “Do you have a problem?” Virtually every mark took the question as fighting bait.

That routine was followed by the “time check” prank in which the brothers yank stranger’s cellphones out of their hands, saying they want to check the time. The stunt was filmed in the hardscrabble Brooklyn neighborhood of Brownsville (aka “Da Ville”), where Mike Tyson earned his legendary street cred and where already this year local police recorded 268 felony assaults.

“Brownsville is the deadliest neighborhood in New York City,” says Moe Etayyim. “Yesterday we heard news that three people got stabbed and one got killed not far from where we filmed. So we had to be careful.”

The brothers had six pals stand as lookouts while they filmed with a hidden camera, Moe Etayyim says, “in case things got out of hand.”

As evinced in the three clips below, things did.

Time Check Prank in the Hood!!

Uploaded By: OckTV

Their first victim is seen leaning against a car parked near a housing project while talking on his cellphone. The twig-thin Et Etayyim interrupts him, saying, “Let me check the time!” as he grabs the phone from the man’s hand.

Instantly, Et Etayyim is bodyslammed against the car and wrestled to the ground while wailing, “It’s a prank! It’s a prank!”

In another scene, Moe Etayyim yanks a phone from a beefy young black man in a white tank top and says, “Yo bro, I left my phone in the—”

The man snatches it back and accosts the bespectacled Moe Etayyim, shouting, “What are you doing, homie?!”

Moe Etayyim tries to defuse the situation, playing up the levity and pointing out the hidden camera. But his target isn’t amused.

“I don’t give a fuck about no cameras.”

The prank has already garnered some 500,000 views on YouTube and netted another 1 million hits after it was posted last week on WorldStarHipHop.

But the videos have also generated controversy. One African-American New Jersey resident warned the brothers via Twitter never to attempt the stunt in his neighborhood.

Stay Away From Brownsville

06/26/14 22:08 UTC@Bashirstyles

@OckTV @JinkiesTV gonna keep it real, if you come to my area pranking us for youtubes views you won't make it back home. Stop fuckin with us

| |

A Brooklyn man who goes by Guntecs told the filmmakers they shouldn’t punk black people.

Brownsville Don't Play That

06/26/14 16:28 UTC@NoRacks

NY Niggas Don't Play That Prank Shyt

| |

And a YouTube commenter called xOriginalModz went even further, saying the prank is racist.

Racist Accusations


The brothers, however, have shrugged off the backlash. “We ignore all the hating,” says Et Etayyim. “We read the tweets and retweet them to show them we don’t care.”

A more pressing concern might be whether or not the two broke the law. One YouTube commentator named Imagineth claims the pranksters are thieves and reported them to the cops.

Called Cops


For now, the two are enjoying the overnight celebrity sparked by their cellphone grabs. “Everyone notices me on the streets now,” says Moe Etayyim.

And what about the irate people they pranked?

“Hopefully,” says Moe Etayyim, “they liked seeing themselves beating us up.”

Respond Now
  • these dudes have a death wish, you pull a phone off of someone, no matter where you are, you are going to get Beat.

  • This is terrible on so many levels. Aside from blatent racism by targeting black people, or the general rudeness of the ‘pranksters’ by stopping these people going about their day and essentially ruining them, there seems to be one vital element that makes all of this even more utterly pointless; It’s not funny. Aren’t pranks supposed to be humourous? Aren’t the set-ups supposed to be clever and witty and with the victim laughing at themselves for being ‘got’? None of their ‘victims’ laughed it off for good reason. Someone coming up and stealing your phone just doesn’t have any depth of humor to it. The punchline is “but I was just checking the time”…brilliant! In my opinion, this isn’t a prank, it’s a dare. A stupid one at that and I hope they don’t get seriously hurt by this.This new style of ‘prank’ where people are just being a$$holes to people on camera isn’t a ‘prank’ it’s simply being an ‘a$$hole’. 

  • They are going to get shot, and probably die… it’s the sad, but blunt truth.. hopefully whoever does get shot won’t die from it, but if they keep doing this, then getting shot is inevitable.

  • They say it’s not racist, but just by the fact that they are going in predominantly black neighborhoods, that they KNOW are much more dangerous compared to their cushy corner in Manhattan, shows that they’ve got some real casual racist notions about black people. They’re grown ass men, they are smarter than that. It’s exploitative as shit. 

  • These folks are just doing what everyone else dreams about doing in this situation.

  • “When black guys do what is naturally required…”That is the most ridiculous statement on this entire page. Naturally required… 

    1 Reply - Reply Now
    • So if someone tries to steal somethng from you; as a black preson you should just take it i guess. I was in chinatown a few years back and somethng happened in a store, then a young guy came zooming past me.  The person that ran past me might have been stealing or cause damage, i don’t know,i didn’t wittness the crime, but what ever he did enraged three cooks who took to the street with cleaver to carve him up. Thank God the subway was right there, but I guess they were asian so they did the right thing. So… pray tell, what does one do when your being robbed?

      1 Reply - Reply Now
      • It’s been debated whether this prank is humorous or exploitative. Whereever you stand, the duo seem to be trying hard to get a reaction. Yet they may have run out of steam as witnessed in their latest… 

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  • I couldnt do this. if somone started hitting me id just go crazy 


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