Just days after posting a video that purported to show a New York City cop racially profiling two men in Islamic garb, the producers of the clip — who also star in it — have admitted that "it was a dramatization" and that it was not "an actual event."
Image via TrueStoryASA/YouTube
"We sincerely apologize to [anybody] who may have been misled that this was an actual event. It wasn't, it was a dramatization, a re-enactment of what happened to us whilst filming in our traditional clothing on," YouTube stars Adam Saleh and Sheikh Akbar said Tuesday in a description accompanying an apology video.
The filmmakers said that they didn't intend to make the NYPD look bad.
They also apologized to the media outlets that ended up covering the clip, to their management team and to the Muslim community at large, insisting that they were simply trying to bring awareness to an important issue.
"All we were trying to do was raise the fact that racial profiling does happen in some places," the they continued.
Selah went on in the video apology to claim that he and Akbar have been racially profiled by police officers in the past while wearing their "cultural clothing." The two implored viewers not to be scared if they, too, ever find themselves being unfairly targeted by authorities.
"If you guys ever get racially profiled, don't be afraid to speak out," Akbar said.
Watch the video apology below:
The central premise of the clip was that Saleh and Akbar — known for making prank videos — were able to walk by a police officer in Queens while wearing jeans and T-shirts and while verbally and nearly physically fighting with one another without the cop intervening or saying a word.
But when they returned 20 minutes later and walked by the same policeman again — this time in robes, head coverings and “cultural clothing” — he intervened in their spat and ended up forcibly frisking them.
Even before Saleh and Akbar admitted that the video was staged, numerous outlets and critics suspected that it wasn't authentic. The dialogue, the frisking method and other elements seemed questionable, they said.
Their suspicions have now been substantiated.
Read the original story for more about the video.