Content warning: Ableism and abuse.
YouTuber couple channel M and K TV were criticised for a video showing a disabled person crawling around his house in search of his hidden wheelchair.
The video, titled I hid my boyfriend’s wheelchair to see his reaction, was first published in May, before a clip resurfaced on Twitter this week.
The pair went on to receive a backlash from disabled campaigners, with several Twitter users describing the prank from girlfriend Mya on boyfriend Kalen as “abuse”.
Responding to the clip, healthcare advocate Kendall Brown tweeted: “Let’s be clear: intentionally messing with a person’s disability (hiding mobility aids, changing out meds, etc) IS ABUSE. PERIOD.”
Meanwhile, disabled comic writer Miz Tee Franklin wrote: “I’m not gonna post that video, but lemmetellya somethin. If I’m dating someone and they hide my wheelchair OR push me in the pool for a YT video, they gonna be single in 2.5. This is ABUSE.”
Alongside facing criticism for the video of Mya hiding the wheelchair, the couple also came under fire for a video which saw Kalen pushed into a pool by his girlfriend.
The video has since been described as “a prank on our friends” by Kalen, who also confirmed he can swim and it was his idea.
The couple have since defended the wheelchair prank on social media, with Mya saying in an over 90-minute long livestream on YouTube that she was “unbothered” by the criticism, and Kalen describing those slamming the video as “haters”.
Speaking TikTok the next day, Kalen said: “First and foremost, it was a prank, okay? Get that through your head. It is a freaking prank, okay?
“Bigger YouTubers, they do worse pranks anyway, they be doing pranks like ‘I’m dead’ prank, or ‘broken water’ prank, like, come on now.
“Secondly, I am perfectly fine, bruh. I am okay, there is nothing wrong with me, nothing happened there.
“Stop treating me like I’m a freaking baby, bruh,” he said.
The content creator also went on to add that the world treats disabled people “as if they’re freaking fragile”, when they only want to be treated equally. He stressed that Mya would never something that would personally hurt him and that he uploaded the video himself.
When approached by Liam O’Dell for comment, a YouTube spokesperson confirmed on background that the video was a prank, and did not breach their community guidelines.
Updated in January 2019, the platform’s harmful and dangerous acts policy bans pranks which cause “intentional physical harm”, “[make] someone feel in immediate danger” or causes “emotional distress” to minors or vulnerable people.
However, the spokesperson said a review found there was no real or recognised threat to Kalen’s physical safety, with the video coming without any acts or expressions considered by the platform as malicious.
They concluded that the video will not be removed due to it not reaching the necessary criteria, and that no further action will be taken.
Photo: M and K TV/YouTube.