4 Viral Stories With The Weirdest Plot Twists
The life cycle of a viral news story is very short: They are born, they burn through social media, and they die in the shadow of obscurity within about a week. Sometimes days. Which is a shame, because if you follow them for a little while beyond their time in the spotlight, things can get pretty crazy. We're talking about how ...
The Guy Who Tore Up a Bagel Shop is Now a Professional Asshole
In July 2019, a bagel store in Long Island temporarily became the most exciting place on the planet when patron Chris Morgan lost his goddamn mind at the employees over a perceived slight. Over the course of several minutes, Morgan tore into them over his nonexistent dating life, how dating apps discriminate against short people, and how women are just, like, the absolute worst.
In a subsequent interview with The Daily Mail, Morgan said that he was "glad" his rant went viral, and that he's now like "MLK for short people," adding "I have a mission ... I'm not stopping and the world is going to hear me. I want equality for everybody." His first step on the road to that shining city? He signed up for a celebrity boxing match. You know, just like MLK.
Days before the match, however, his opponent (Lenny Dykstra) pulled out and was replaced by Dustin Diamond, whereupon Morgan announced on Twitter that he was no-showing, saying: "I ain't coming to the fight! After all, what's the best way to really not get hit? Don't be there!" In all fairness, though, Morgan isn't a fighter, he's a bully, which is why he pissed his pants at the thought of going toe-to-toe with someone who could do him real damage.
Morgan also found another way to capitalize on his fame: the app Cameo. With it, people with too much money can pay $50 to receive a personalized 30-second video of him insulting them and pretending to beat up a tree. Get it? It's hilarious that he's a violent asshole who gets his kicks abusing random people. Like, for instance, the random passersby whom he attacked with a baseball bat only a month after the bagel shop incident, which led to him being arrested and taken away for psychiatric evaluation. Quality humor!
The Guy Who "Abandoned" His Family During An Avalanche Was Only A Movie Character, You Dummies
Back in June 2019, social media blew up over a video of a man leaving his family to die in the cold grip of an avalanche.
The clip racked up an impressive 18 million anger-views, and an equally impressive number of questions. Who was this man? Was his family OK? How much did he get fleeced in the inevitable divorce? The media frantically busied itself writing hot takes about the death of civility and masculinity, positing that this family man should (according to Barstool Sports) be "beaten to within an inch of his life [then] nursed back to health and beaten again."
But the internet was so excited to pile on a panicked stranger that they forgot to do the most basic fact-checking. You have to ask the right questions about a clip like this.
Question #1: Was this footage even real?
Answer: No, it wasn't.
Wow ... that fell apart quickly. We expected to run through a whole list of queries here, but no. Alright.
The clip was taken from the 2014 Swedish film Force Majeure, which is about a man who ... abandons his family when it looks like their about to get buried by an avalanche. Except it turns out the encroaching cloud of powder is completely harmless, so they're then left to reckon with the fallout of his actions. So ... the exact nature of the clip, then. Not even taken out of context. Also, it ends with a "Now showing" bit for the streaming service that originally put up the clip. How did this get so far on so little?
The Inventor Of Gender Reveal Parties Now Hates Them
Barely a week goes by without a gender reveal party causing a plane crash, or a devastating wildfire, or a pipe bomb explosion that leaves one attendee dead. They're basically acts of terror at this point. And the woman who invented them agrees. In July 2019, Jenna Karvunidis said in a now-viral post that she has "a lot of mixed feelings" about her "random contribution to the culture," and pointed out that putting such a dramatic focus on a child's gender is a little problematic:
Who cares what gender the baby is? I did at the time because we didn't live in 2019 and didn't know what we know now -- that assigning focus on gender at birth leaves out so much of their potential and talents that have nothing to do with what's between their legs.
PLOT TWIST, the world's first gender-reveal party baby is a girl who wears suits!
The Writer Who "Killed" A Restaurant ... Didn't
In November 2018, Thrillist's Kevin Alexander revealed that an article he'd written the previous year had wound up inadvertently "killing" one of Portland's most beloved burger restaurants, a mom-and-pop joint called Stanich's.
According to Alexander, his article caused such an influx of customers that Stanich's was quickly overwhelmed. "I put a target on their back ... and that influx of people messed with the way they'd been running the business for decades."
The owner, Steve Stanich, called the article "the worst thing that's ever happened to us." During a sitdown with Alexander, he talked about how the massive lines after the article caused a drop in quality, which caused the restaurant to start getting bad reviews, which in turn led to the health department suggesting that Stanich close for a "deep clean." Stanich did exactly that -- only he did it for good.
After Alexander's coup de grace was picked up by major outlets like NPR and The New York Times, an investigation by Willamette Week journalists Matthew Singer and Nigel Jaquiss found that Stanich wasn't a blameless everyman salt-of-the-earth burgermeister(?). He was a domestic abuser, and back in 2014, he was given four years of probation for strangling his wife.
After an acrimonious divorce, during which Stanich accused his now-ex of faking her (legit, proven) terminal illness for sympathy, he was arrested several times for violating the terms of his probation, which included provisions against drinking alcohol and contacting his ex. He was later awarded a further two years probation for reckless driving. It was around this time that Alexander published his article about Stanich's, and while the new business probably did bring some pressure, it's unhelpful at best (and a lie at worst) to suggest this great institution was brought down by a positive review.
After some pointed criticism by Jezebel and The New Yorker, Thrillist appended a damning editor's note to the mast of Alexander's article. They admitted that they were well-aware of Stanich's "personal problems" beforehand, and had committed an "unacceptable violation of our editorial standards" by omitting that information from the final draft. We hate to say it, but maybe our lunatic racist uncle is right about the corrupt media establishment. If you can't even trust the burger press, who can you trust?
For more, check out 4 Viral Videos That Will Haunt Their Stars Forever (NSFW):
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