A video has gone viral on social media showing two young men humiliating an impoverished old man in Marrakech.
Rabat – Over the weekend, a video of a “prank” on a poor man in Marrakech went viral. Social media users called for the pranksters to be severely punished, while groups of Moroccans visited the victim’s home to offer him aid.
The viral video shows two young men humiliating and mocking an impoverished elderly man.
One of the pranksters calls over the man and offers him charity, explaining that his boss instructed him to give to the needy. A friend films the encounter on his phone.
The main culprit counts out MAD 1,400 and pauses to ask the man, who appears to be in his 60s, if he has children. When he responds that he does not have children, the suspect removes MAD 200 from the stack of money.
The prankster then asks the man what he plans to do with the money. The man explains that he intends to pay his rent and bills, and perhaps buy food if he has money left over.
The offer of MAD 1,200 turns out to be a joke, and the youth curses at the old man. The prankster and his phone-wielding friend begin to laugh.
The prank sparked outrage across social media, and Facebook users condemned the cruelty of the video.
“He deserves prison for what he did to that poor man,” one Facebook user said of the main culprit.
The viral video also garnered mainstream media attention within Morocco.
Yesterday, the Arabic-language Moroccan media outlet Chouf TV interviewed the man at his home.
The man spoke about his hardships to Chouf TV and described the pain he felt as the pranksters mocked him.
Charitable Moroccans also responded to the prank.
“Please give me the address of this person or any way that I can get to him,” one Facebook user commented on the Chouf TV clip. She was not the only one with the idea to help the man directly.
Videos and photos posted to Facebook show groups of Moroccans cleaning the man’s house, helping him replace old and broken furniture, and offering him words of kindness. They also bought him a cell phone to use in case he needs something.
“All Moroccans should help this poor old man,” another user commented on Chouf TV’s video.
What does the law say?
The French-language news outlet Le Site Info reported on Sunday that local police have opened an investigation into the case. Under Moroccan law, it is illegal to film and distribute footage of someone without the person’s explicit and freely-given consent.
Articles 447-1 and 447-2 of the Penal Code explicitly prohibit these intentional actions.
Under Article 447-1, the crime of recording a private exchange is punishable by six months to three years in prison, and a fine of MAD 2,000 to 20,000.
Under Article 447-2, the crime of distributing illegally recorded private information or conversations is punishable by one to three years in prison, and a fine of MAD 2,000 to 20,000.
The culprit from the prank video has allegedly expressed his remorse on Facebook and said that he intends to go to the man’s house to apologize.