Israeli Olympian Apologizes for Video of Teammates Breaking Cardboard Bed

A Team Israel Olympian, Ben Wanger, has issued an apology after he posted a video showing how many people it takes to break the cardboard beds in the Tokyo 2020 athletes' village.

In his video, which went viral, baseball player Wanger began by jumping on the bed alone, before being joined by several teammates. At nine Olympians, the bed caved in and broke.

He made the clip in response to false claims that the beds had been made out of cardboard in order to discourage sexual activity. In reality, cardboard was chosen to make the village more sustainable and the beds will all be recycled after the Games.

Wanger has since deleted his original video and posted an apology on TikTok on Thursday, July 29, after his actions were criticized. The pitcher explained that the bed had been a spare one, rather than one being used by an athlete.

He said: "Many of you may have seen the video I posted of some of my teammates and I jumping on one of the cardboard beds in the Olympic village. I'd like to really apologize to anyone offended by this video. We meant no disrespect and just wanted to show off how effective and sturdy the beds are in the Olympic village.

"We had an extra bed available to us and were told that they would all be recycled after the Games anyway. The bed in the video has since been recycled. We actually enjoy sleeping on these beds and think they are a great and sustainable option for future Olympics.

"We apologize again to anyone offended by this video. Japan has done an exceptional job at hosting the athletes here in the Olympic village. We're extremely appreciative of their hospitality. My teammates and I have had nothing short of a great experience so far in Japan."

According to The Times of Israel, the Israeli Olympic Committee issued a statement saying it had called the baseball team's manager for a meeting after seeing the footage. The committee added that it condemned the behavior and "a clear message was conveyed to the players."

A spokesperson for Airweave, the bed's manufacturer, told The Japan News that it had anticipated "some medalists would jump up on the bed with excitement"—but had not predicted that nine would do so at once.

"It is unfortunate that the video went viral. But more importantly, we're glad that the athletes were not injured," the spokesperson said.

Newsweek has contacted the Israeli Olympic Committee for further comment.

Israel baseball team at Tokyo Olympics
Israel's baseball team lines up for the national anthem before a Group B game against South Korea on July 29, day six of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, at Yokohama Baseball Stadium. Getty Images