Sad Teddy Bear At LAX Was Just A YouTube Prank
Holiday travel appeared to take a sad turn on Thursday when the TSA shared a photo of a forlorn-looking giant teddy bear that, they say, had to be abandoned at LAX. The agency tried to use the photo as a teachable moment: "He was abandoned by his owners at LAX after the airline and TSA determined that he was just too big to be screened as a carry-on and taken on the plane," read the Instagram caption. Instead, the agency drew the ire of commenters who called them out for violating the 4th Amendment and potentially ruining some kid's Christmas.
However, the whole thing ultimately turned out to be nothing but a YouTube stunt, because it's 2016, after all. "The bear actually belonged to a grown man, and not a child," wrote TSA spokesperson Bob Burns on the official TSA Blog. "It turns out it was all a stunt to see if he could get the giant bear on the plane."
A picture of the bear and an incident report were sent to me as an idea for an Instagram post. I thought it would be a good opportunity for a travel tips post letting people know that very large items can sometimes pose problems when being carried on the plane. Even though I didn't mention a child in the Instagram post, some quickly assumed it was a child's bear and imagined a heartbroken child having to leave its friend behind for the holidays. This was not the case. It belonged to a grown man.
The whole stunt was done by YouTube vlogger Jake Paul, who made up an entire backstory about "Brody the Bear" being a gift for his girlfriend in an attempt to get the bear on the plane. A good bulk of the video is just Paul's interaction with officials at the airport, him speaking to the camera, an the reaction of bystanders. Millennials, am I right?