Pranks gone wrong

Gatorcountry1019.com
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Seemingly harmless jokes often go south quickly

From a threat of contaminated water to 'cutting' Bieber fans, we've compiled a list of pranks that didn't go over so well. See gallery


Water by a different name spells suspensions for DJs

What does it take to get a pair of popular radio DJs kicked off the air? In the case of Southwestern Florida’s Gator Country 101.9 DJs Val St. John and Scott Fish, it takes a scientifically accurate April Fools' Day joke. The pair warned listeners that the local water supply was contaminated with "dihydrogen monoxide" (the chemical name for water), and for that they were suspended.

Could they face charges?

 

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Reuters: Mike Cassese
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Bieber fans 'cut themselves' in pot-smoking protest

Justin Bieber's fan base is not known for being particularly reserved when it comes to adoration. And in January, when dozens of Twitter users started posting photos of cut-up arms and wrists supposedly done in response to rumors of Bieber smoking marijuana, there was shock and concern – followed by anger when the whole thing turned out to be a hoax.

Where did the hoax supposedly originate?

 

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YouTube: lolumadbro100
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Missile launcher 'response test' fails for prankster

In an effort to "test police response time" following the deadly shooting rampage at a theater in Aurora, Colo., in July 2012, one Arizona man decided to dress his nephew in crudely made "Arab garb," give him a fake missile launcher and videotape how long it took Phoenix police to arrive. It's unclear by the video when police arrive, but two months later, both uncle and nephew found themselves facing criminal charges.

Watch the video

 

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AP: Invision, Joel Ryan
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Russell Brand invokes political wrath with prank

Bad pranks leading to arrests and firings are somewhat common. Bad pranks leading to firings and apologies from British parliament figures and a prime minister are somewhat of a rarer breed. So when actor Russell Brand left a series of profane voicemails on actor Andrew Sachs' phone as part of a prank on BBC's "The Russell Brand Show," he joined the select individuals whose antics have incited the wrath not only of critics, but of lawmakers as well.

Watch Brand interview on '60 Minutes'

 

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YouTube: jlandryst7
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'Cinnamon Challenge' tastes bitter for police chief

For a brief period in 2012 the "Cinnamon Challenge" was the hot new Internet video trend. The challenge centered on attempting to eat a spoonful or more of ground cinnamon – an act that typically led to coughing fits and orange powder everywhere. For former Tutwiler Police Chief Terry Tyler and four other city officials, the "challenge" was their undoing when they convinced a mentally disabled teen to try it on camera in Tutwiler, Miss.

Watch 'Cinnamon Challenge' videos

 

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AP Photo: Todd Vanderlin
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'Aqua Teen' bomb scare

When Comedy Central tried to drum up support for the new season of "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" in January 2007, the network hired a pair of folks to place battery-operated light boards around Boston as a kind of guerilla-marketing campaign. Unfortunately for Comedy Central and for the hapless young men who were assigned the duty, the signs caused a bomb scare and led to their arrests and apologies from the network.

See photos of the light boards that caused the scare

 

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Orson Welles incites panic on the airwaves

One of the earliest examples of pranks gone wrong happened on Oct. 30, 1938, when actor Orson Welles performed a radio adaptation of H.G. Wells' novel "The War of the Worlds." Using a series of mock news bulletins, Welles warned of an impending alien attack – something that thousands of listeners believed, causing mass panic then outrage when it was discovered to have been a dramatization.

Hear the full radio broadcast

 

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AP Photo: Sang Tan
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Nurse commits suicide after DJs' royal prank

When Sydney, Australia-based radio hosts Mel Greig and Michael Christian called London's King Edward VII Hospital, where Duchess Kate Middleton was hospitalized and pretended to be Queen Elizabeth and the Prince of Wales, they likely didn't count on an on-duty nurse answering the call and believing them. They also didn't count on the nurse, days later, committing suicide – an event that would lead to their firings amid enormous backlash.

Will they face criminal charges?

 

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YouTube: supertwerp45
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'Russian hit man' prank backfires

Florida residents Jonathan Vanegas and Vitaly Zdorovetskiy are known on YouTube as the guys behind the "Miami Zombie Attack" prank videos, which feature a member of the duo dressing like a zombie and chasing strangers around. When the prankster pair approached one man and tried to convince him they were Russian hitmen out to kill him, things went sour as the filmmakers nearly got beaten senseless and were then slapped with bomb-hoax charges.

Watch clips of the prank video

 

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Reuters: Danny Moloshok
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'Kill Obama' airplane prank lands with a flop

Placing a note in the luggage of an airplane-bound co-worker that reads '1) Hijack Plane, 2) Kill Obama' may sound like a funny idea. But security officials at Hill Air Force Base in Northern Utah weren't laughing when they found the note. Neither were the FBI and Secret Service when they got involved nor was Jeremiah Douglas Hill, the man arrested for allegedly writing the note as a joke.

 

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Photo courtesy of Manatee County Sheriff's Office
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Wedgie pranks rub the wrong way

Florida prankster Charles Ross has more than 60 videos on YouTube featuring him jumping over police officers, kissing strangers and performing unannounced "trust falls." But it was with a prank involving a classic wedgie maneuver – the process of yanking an unsuspecting person's undergarments up from behind – that Ross crossed the line, according to the Manatee County Sheriff Office.

Watch Ross' videos

 

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Playboy's 'How To Beat Your Wife' spoof draws outrage

The April 2000 Romanian edition of Playboy magazine saw the publication try its hand at April Fools' Day satire with an article titled "How to Beat Your Wife Without Leaving Marks." Needless to say, Romanian women didn't take kindly to instructions on penalty-free domestic violence being given out in print form, and Playboy soon found itself apologizing to the Romanian people.

 

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Reuters: Sharif Karim
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Israeli intelligence officer plays dumb

April Fools' Day pranks around the office can be fun. But when that office is an Israeli intelligence ministry and that joke involves sending official reports of a Lebanese Shi'ite leader being wounded in an assassination attempt, the prank quickly loses its comedic value and the prankster finds himself at a military tribunal.

 

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YouTube: Shinehood
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High-speed-chase gets cops a ticket off the force

Cops are known for playing good-natured pranks on each other from time to time. But when Clermont, Fla., police officers Marc Thompson and Mark Edwards decided to trick a co-worker by getting her to pursue their vehicle at speeds in excess of 90 miles per hour, they crossed the office-prank line, and in the process, ended their careers in law enforcement.

Watch dash-cam footage of the chase

 

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Teen's cardboard coin prank costs big – 49 years later

Way back in 1963, then-19-year-old Richard Eggers "got bored" while waiting for a friend at a local laundromat and decided to cut out nickel-sized pieces of cardboard to see if they worked in the washing machines. The result for Eggers was that he was convicted of "operating a coin machine by false means" and when his employer, Wells Fargo, discovered the conviction 49 years later, they fired him for his history of "fraud."

 

Find Eggers' tale as told on 'The Colbert Report'

 

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