YouTube pranks are nothing new. In fact, many could argue they have been done ad nauseum, but it doesn’t stop people from continuing to do them. Typically, these pranks are scripted and planned to have the best-controlled results. However, one YouTube channel has come under fire for their heartless prank of a Walmart employee.
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Joel and Lauren TV is a YouTube channel that has over 1.3 million subscribers and primarily focuses on pulling pranks on unsuspecting victims. Lauren Love, who is the creator of the channel, posted a video on April 23rd where she dressed in a blue vest and pretended to be the CEO of Walmart.
In the video, Love pretended to fire certain employees while commending others for their hard work. Towards the end of the now deleted video, Love approached Maria Leones, an elderly employee who used to work in the academic field in Asia before coming to the United States, and criticized her work.
Love first told Leones that she was working in the wrong location in the store. “You’re in the cashier? So wait, why are you over here?” Love asked Leones who was apologetic.
The YouTuber then proceeded to take it up a notch.”OK, well I’m the CEO of today, my dad used to own this Walmart specifically, but he actually doesn’t work with this one anymore so I’m actually taking over. And today I would prefer is you actually be over there,”
After a tongue lashing, Love told Leones she was fired, which left Leones reeling as she uses the money from this job to pay for her husband’s medical bills as he recovers from heart surgery, the Daily Mail reported.
“Actually, I’m gonna need to see your badge and your vest because you’re fired. You’re fired. I don’t appreciate you walking around here. You’re supposed to be at the cashier cashing people out. What if someone was looking around and they don’t see you because you’re busy over here?”
“Really, I was really so crushed, I felt so little, I felt so powerless,” Leones said. “At that very moment, I felt so little, because back home I had a very good reputation because I’m a professor.”
After seeing the Walmart employee cry, Love breaks character and proceeds to tell Leones she is not fired. Leones then hugged Love and thanked her.
At the end of the video, Love tells her viewers: “I hope you guys enjoyed this video. It was honestly hilarious. It turned out really well. The last one was, honestly, I felt so bad. She started crying.”
The video was met with hundreds of negative comments and downvotes on her video. The video gained so much traction online that Walmart issued a statement.
“This prank is offensive and the people responsible are no longer welcome in our stores,” the company said in a statement. “We’ve taken actions on behalf of our associates, including asking YouTube to remove the video and calling their attention to the bullying nature of this hoax. Our associates work hard every day to serve our customers. They do a fantastic job, deserve better than being subjected to such disrespect, and will continue to have our full support.”
Love has since been banned from all Walmart locations.