That Video of a Man Wrestling a Gator to Save a Friend Is Actually a Prank

A video making the rounds on Reddit shows a man heroically channelling his inner pro-wrestler as he elbow-drops onto a live alligator to rescue his friend who's being pursued by the animal. Turns out, though, that it's all just an elaborate prank.

In the subreddit r/holdmyredbull, a user shared a clip of a man "dropkicking at an aligator [sic] to help a friend." The man sees the gator following his friend and tries to distract it by throwing nearby objects at it, before opting to channel the likes of Hulk Hogan and Macho Man Randy Savage, as one commenter pointed out, and pounce on the animal to save his pal.

Unfortunately for the Redditor who posted the clip on Monday, the video is something of a fake. It's actually a clip taken from YouTuber Jay Karl's 2018 video "Remote Controlled Alligator Prank Just For Laughs." In the clip, Karl follows people around at a local body of water, scaring them into thinking they are being circled or followed by a live alligator. At the end of the video, Karl is seemingly told to stop by local police.

The prank dates back even further than the 2018 video. In 2016, Karl released an explainer video showing how he performed the prank, which involved attaching the fake gator head to a remote-controlled boat. He also talks in the explainer about his methods for getting good audio for his videos; one such technique involves attaching a microphone to a fishing pole. In the description for the 2018 clip, Karl included links to the products he used on Amazon.

Almost immediately on Monday, people on Reddit caught on to the fact that the clip was a prank. One user wrote that the gator "Gator looks like a hand puppet from Sesame Street."

A YouTube commenter still commended the man's bravery for trying to save his friend, even though the gator was a fake. "That guy LITERALLY risked his life to help his friend. That is heroic even if they weren't in any real danger," he wrote.

When asked for comment, Karl responded to Newsweek's email by writing, "Yeah my comment is.. LMFAO!" When asked for further comment about people taking the footage at face value, Karl responded that he had more serious intentions. "Sure, if i [sic] can fool people with a toy alligator then its [sic] would be no problem at all for main stream media to do the same. Wake up," he wrote.

What an alligator prank has to do with "the mainstream media" isn't really clear. But the media appears to be a real point of interest for Karl. Aside from t-shirts and sweatshirts that say, "I'm naked under here," Karl's webstore also sells face masks that bare the phrases "I do everything my TV tells me" and "I believe mainstream media."

An alligator looks on during the final round of the RBC Heritage on June 21, 2020 at Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. Sam Greenwood/Getty