UK

Viral agency admits video of female cyclist revenge may be fake

Female cyclist Image copyright YouTube
Image caption A female cyclist takes revenge on male harassers in central London - but is it real?

A London-based media company has said a video it published of a cyclist taking revenge after verbal abuse may have been staged.

Jungle Creations said the video, posted on its Facebook channel on Tuesday, failed to meet its usual standards and "may be factually incorrect".

The video, apparently shot from a motorbike, shows a young female cyclist being verbally abused by men in a van on a busy central London street.

She hits the wing mirror, at which one of the men asks: "You on your period?"

Image copyright Jungle Creations
Image caption Jungle Creations released a statement admitting a video they published may be fake

He then reaches out to touch the cyclist and asks for her number before driving away.

The young woman races to catch up to the van, which stops in a parking spot.

The cyclist reaches across to the wing mirror and yanks it off.

Several men are seen shouting and getting out of the van while the motorcylist shouts: "That's exactly what you deserve, you scum," as the cyclist disappears down the road.

Image copyright Independent, Evening Standard, Daily Mail, The Sun
Image caption Several media outlets ran the original story and have since updated their stories to reflect doubts about the authenticity of the video.

The video received over one million views on the Viral Threads Facebook group and was picked up by multiple media companies, including the Sun, the Metro, the Independent and the Evening Standard.

Some people responded enthusiastically - applauding the woman for standing up for herself and the motorcyclist for berating the van drivers.

Image copyright Twitter
Image caption Some people applauded the cyclist

However, social media users on Facebook and on the comment boards Reddit were quick to protest, furiously debating why they believed the video was staged,

One Reddit user questioned why the motorcyclist had stayed behind the comparatively slower cyclist.

Another suggested that this had been to ensure that the recording of audio was not disturbed by fast moving air.

Image copyright Reddit
Image caption Reddit users questioned the authenticity of the video

There are other unanswered questions about the video posed by the internet, including about the apparently superhuman physical strength of the cyclist.

Image copyright Facebook
Image caption Facebook users questioned the strength of the cyclist
Image copyright Evening Standard
Image caption One reader of the Evening Standard suggested that the wing mirror was partly dismantled in advance of the cyclist ripping it off

Melissa Chapman, who leads social media at Jungle Creations, responded to allegations on YouTube that the video was staged by asserting that the motorcyclist who had filmed it had sent the video to the company.

The BBC asked Jungle Creations for information about the biker or evidence of a contract signed with the video creator but received no response.

Other media organisations were also asking questions, and one witness came forward claiming that he had seen actors making the video.

Scott Deane told the Sun newspaper that he had seen actors receiving instructions before the scene had been filmed.

"I saw this very attractive girl with a bike talking to a blonde guy who was giving her instructions," he said.

"Then three guys dressed in orange site clothes turned up in a van and the blonde bloke was giving them instructions too.

"He was telling the girl, 'You need to ride behind the van aggressively.'"

Another man claimed on Twitter that his colleagues had told him they had seen actors being given instructions and that the video had required two takes.

Image copyright Twitter
Image caption Some people claim the video required two takes "to get it right"

The founder of Jungle Creations, Jamie Bolding, denied creating the video and told the Evening Standard: 'We couldn't verify its authenticity, but we don't think it's fake."

The Guardian reported that Jungle Creations were selling the video at £400 for publication on the Guardian websites and £150 for social media channels.

Claims that the video had been staged also escalated into claims it was an example of "fake news"

After several hours of wild speculation and feverish commenting, Jungle Creations admitted on Wednesday afternoon that the video could indeed be fake.


By Georgina Rannard, UGC and Social news

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