- YouTubers Lucas and Marcus Dobre posted a video featuring Marcus faking his suicide as a “prank.”
- Viewers criticized the twin brothers, and a suicide prevention charity labeled the joke “dangerous.”
- The pair have over 24 million subscribers and post comedic videos with their other two brothers.
Twin brothers Lucas and Marcus Dobre have faced criticism over their latest YouTube video, which features Marcus faking his death by suicide as a “prank.”
The video, posted on January 10, is titled “MY TWIN BROTHER IS DEAD?!” and has been viewed over 2.5 million times.
It shows Lucas reading a note from his twin brother. “Put this on YouTube,” it begins. “To my family, Lucas, mom, dad, Cyrus, Darius, and everyone else I just wanna say I love you guys. I just wanted to write you this letter before I go. I’m gonna miss you so much but now I’m gone forever.”
Lucas continues to read the note, seeming increasingly confused, “Please don’t give up on our fans they really love us and we keep them happy. I left you something in the backyard to remember me. From Marcus, I will see you in the sky.”
The brothers are then filmed finding tombstone in the backyard, and wondering aloud what Marcus meant by it, before the filming stops and the video switches to Marcus speaking directly to camera.
“I’m not dead, I just wanted to prank my family. I’m so sorry guys,” he said. “I flew out to LA just to pull off this prank. I can’t believe I did it.”
A number of comments under the video have called out the YouTubers for joking about suicide.
“As someone who has actually been through this, this is actually just the worst. Losing my brother was the worst thing I’ve ever gone through,” the top comment reads.
In a statement to Insider, a representative for suicide prevention charity SAVE said, “We lose someone to suicide every 40 seconds, which means this is nothing to joke about, minimize, or attempt to make funny.”
They added that pranks about suicide can lead to “harm or death,” and cause “major trauma” for the people on the receiving end.
SAVE also said such pranks can lead to emergency services being called out unnecessarily, which is costly for the community.
“We need to send a clear message to everyone that videos or actions such as these pranks are not appropriate and potentially very dangerous,” they added. “Social media platforms need to continue to work to help save lives from suicide through existing best practices for social media and prevent prank videos from negatively influencing users.”
YouTube’s community guidelines state, “We do not allow content on YouTube that promotes suicide, self-harm, that is intended to shock or disgust, or poses a considerable risk to viewers.” There is no clear guidance on “pranks” of this nature, and Google, which owns YouTube, did not respond to Insider’s request for comment.
The brothers have not addressed the backlash and did not respond to Insider’s request for comment.
The four Dobre brothers have been posting on their joint YouTube channel for five years, and gained a following of over 10 million with their comedic videos which sometimes feature their mother, retired Olympic gymnast Aurelia Dobre. Marcus and Lucas’ separate channel has over 24 million subscribers.
For more stories like this, check out coverage from Insider’s Digital Culture team here.