Viral Video About Lizard-Like Airline Passenger Winking Actually An Elaborate Hoax

A video has gone viral on social media this week featuring a woman on an American Airlines flight who was yelling about a fellow passenger being “not real.” The video has inspired countless conspiracy theories on TikTok about shapeshifters and aliens. But a companion TikTok video supposedly from another passenger on that flight is a hoax, even though it’s been viewed well over 15 million times.

Taken together, the two videos serve as a great example of how any popular content online can now inspire viral videos that piggyback on each other until nobody knows what’s true anymore—one of the biggest challenges of the social media era.

First, we’ll start at the beginning. The woman in the original video, which has since been made private on TikTok, can be heard addressing the entire plane with obscenities, pointing to the rear of the aircraft, and insisting that someone back there is “not real.” Other TikTok and YouTube accounts have also shared the video, which can be seen below.

The flight was scheduled to fly from Dallas, Texas to Orlando, Florida on July 2 and while the woman has not been identified, American Airlines told local news outlets in Dallas that the flight was, “met at the gate by local law enforcement and the customer was removed from the flight.” It’s not clear if the woman was arrested and American Airlines didn’t respond to questions emailed Friday evening.

The original video of the woman in mental distress has been posted and re-posted on TikTok millions of times, and shared on other social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Many people on those sites insist the woman must’ve seen a Reptilian—a fringe conspiracy theory that some people are actually secret reptiles who wear human suits to blend in with the rest of humanity. Some versions of the conspiracy theory insist these creatures are actually aliens from another planet. And it seems like many people have been taking advantage of this strange situation’s popularity online to spread their own wild (and fake) stories about what the woman saw.

In fact, one man made a video claiming to have been on that flight when he really wasn’t. Kole Lyndon Lee, who has a presence across several social media platforms on screenwriting and filmmaking in Los Angeles, posted a TikTok video that told an elaborate story about how he was also actually a passenger on that flight from Dallas to Orlando.

Lee can be seen in the video saying that he was listening to an audiobook by Stephen King on that flight but noticed some weird things about that woman’s conversation with a fellow passenger wearing a hooded sweatshirt. Lee’s story included details about the woman having a conversation with “hoodie guy,” who supposedly didn’t say a word back to her, clearly implying this man had some kind of supernatural mind powers.

Lee’s story finished with the man in the hoodie supposedly winking at Lee. But the big twist? It wasn’t the kind of wink a human makes with their eyelids. It was a wink that a lizard would make, where the eyelids close horizontally like elevator doors.

How do we know this story is fake? Lee says as much in the description of his TikTok video.

“First video! Just thought I’d share my experince [sic] with this now that I’m seeing it all over my FYP. But please don’t take this video seriously because it’s not real. I completely made this up. Just want to see how gullible oeople [sic] are on this app,” Lee wrote.

You’d think Lee’s own description would be enough to debunk his video for good, but that hasn’t stopped it from being shared repeatedly on countless social media channels. The description also isn’t being shared along with the video once it hits the pages of other social media influencers, which is likely adding to the chaos.

And to make things even more confusing, Lee created a second video where he explains away the original description, insisting that he’s telling the truth in the video, but labeled it as fake to trick the “algorithms” so his truth wouldn’t be buried. The second video also got widespread attention outside of TikTok, getting re-posted on other platforms like Twitter.

But, yet again, the description for Lee’s second video on TikTok completely contradicts the things he’s saying in the video. A third video was the most straightforward and addressed the “satire” he was creating with a “social experiment,” finally admitting in the video itself that it was all fake.

“I actually fully understand why you’d want to believe the story like this and I take responsibility for that… Pretty good actor, I can admit that,” Lee says in the third video.

“Most of these videos are fake,” Lee said about the creepy videos that often go viral on TikTok claiming to show ghosts or supernatural beings.

“If you just do two seconds of research, look on the page and see how bad people are at acting, then we can see that. But we choose to ignore the red flags and just believe things because we want it to be true,” Lee continued.

Lee confirmed over email early Saturday that he created the videos as a social experiment and stressed that people shouldn’t believe everything they read on social media about the woman who was yelling on a plane.

“It blew my mind that it went viral and people didn’t think to read the description or do any research to find the original video. It’s quite easy to find by searching on TikTok,” Lee told me over email.

“I’m a storyteller, love acting, cinema, filmmaking, etc., so I also just wanted to have fun and tell an interesting story. I thought I might get some views, 5K, maybe 10K, but honestly thought people would read the description and see that it was clearly fake, especially because my story was so damn ridiculous,” Lee continued.

“It was satire. That’s why I also never mentioned any names or details about the color of the hoodie or anything like that. People just ran with it. Proved my point, I guess.”

Updated with comment directly from Kole Lyndon Lee on July 8.

Article source: https://airlines.einnews.com/article/643651950/WuSEsBp8SOgw4Op0?ref=rss&ecode=vaZAu9rk30b8KC5H

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