Mohammed “Moe” Etayyim and his brother, Etayyim “Et” Etayyim, are two twenty-something dudes from Bay Ridge. They have access to a video camera and they’re not very smart. This much we can surmise from their YouTube channel, OckTV, which specializes in “pranks,” the omnipresent YouTube kind that involve harassing, annoying or just plain baiting people in various New York neighborhoods. They sit on people on the subway. They ask for directions and then scream “Don’t tell me what to do!” And sometimes, teaming up with yet another YouTube prankster,, Dennis Chuyeshkov, a.ka. “Dennis Cee”, they wander up to men in higher-crime neighborhoods like East New York and ask if they want to buy guns. This is going to end really well.
In the past day, the Bros. Etayyim — though not Chuyeshkov for some reason — have faced criticism from both the Daily News and Pix 11 over their pranks, specifically the ones that trade on racist stereotypes. Also, various people are suggesting they stop before someone takes serious offense and really, really hurts them.
The video that seems to have sparked a lot of the recent backlash is this one, which the Etayyim brothers say was shot in “the west side projects in Coney Island,” by which they probably mean the Coney Island Houses, a New York City Housing Authority development.
The other “prank” that’s attracted a lot of negative attention is this one, titled “Selling Guns in the Hood [Gone Wrong].”
Chuyekshov also got a lot of attention, mostly negative, for a similar stunt a few weeks ago, titled “Extreme Selfies in the Hood.”
We could link to another one, “Farting in the Hood,” but you probably get the idea.
Almost all the OckTV and Dennis Cee videos have racked up hundreds of thousands of pageviews. They’re also facing serious criticism from places like the Al Sharpton-founded National Action Network. Tony Herbert, president of NAN’s Brooklyn East chapter asks the Daily News, rhetorically, “How stupid are they? They are particularly targeting minority neighborhoods. Somebody is going to get hurt. They are putting their lives in jeopardy.”
“This is exploitation and stereotyping at its worst,” another dissatisfied viewer wrote on DennisCeeTV’s Facebook page. “Why are all of his pranks in our neighborhood? There is nothing funny about these pranks, stay out of our neighborhood’s with your new age blaxploitation.”
On Twitter, the Etayyims fired back, calling the media reports biased and insisting they get everyone to agree to the pranks:
Pathetic article saying we exploit African Americans when we go up to everyone. We now know howmedia works
— OckTV (@OckTV) July 11, 2014
We get verbal consent and permission from everyone we prank and we become friends with them. People are to quick to judge.
— OckTV (@OckTV) July 11, 2014
At the same time, both Chuyekshov and the Etayyim brothers also spend a lot of time on Twitter and Facebook hyping how “scary” their experiences in places like Brownsville and East New York are.
“Never going back to East New York/Brownsville again!!! We got a new video for you guys this Wednesday! Some crazy shit w/ OckTV,” Chuyeshkov wrote on July 5.
“Here is a collaboration we did at East, NY,” Et Ettayim added, a few days later. “Never going back there smh. It could’ve turned out much worse.”
It’s almost like deliberately antagonizing people is a bad idea.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 11, 2014