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Instant Humiliation: Just Add YouTube!

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Ned: So how'd the fight go?
Mark: Oh you know, it was pretty even, basically a draw...
Ned: Really? On YouTube it looked like you got your ass kicked.

In modern fiction, characters will post embarrassing videos of each other on YouTube (or something eerily similar). This functions just like public humiliation, but instead of just their friends and family, it's everyone in the entire world. For such a young medium (YouTube was founded in 2005), this trope has acclimated rather well.

There's no closing the floodgates once word of mouth (or, more likely, word of Facebook and Reddit) starts travelling. Typically, the video will become a viral sensation, getting millions of views in a manner of days. Although not as common as depicted in the media, it is Truth in Television. It is part of an Internet Safety Aesop since you should be careful about what you post online.

Compare Engineered Public Confession, Instant Web Hit, Embarrassing Ad Gig, and Stupid Statement Dance Mix. May tie in with Social Media Is Bad and Cyberbullying.



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  • This Mountain Dew ad featuring none other than Chuck Norris.
  • In an ad for AT&T cellphone-with-internet where the Catchphrase is "it says...," there's a person in a hospital surrounded by their family. The child is looking at their phone replaying the video of their parent wiping out on a snowmobile. "It says you have 4 million hits."
  • There was a Dare Iced Coffee ad in Australia that was a montage of all the awkward things your girlfriend might want to tell you over coffee. One of them was, "Remember that video we made? It went viral."
  • In a PSA by the NSPCC, I Saw Your Willy, a boy named Alex takes a picture of his genitals and sends it to a girl he knows. She thinks it's funny and sends it to her friends, and then they send it to their friends...the next day, everyone is shouting at him, "I saw your willy!" The picture gets to all the other children at Alex's school, the teaching faculty, a bunch of random people riding a bus, a newscaster ("Newsflash! The world sees Alex's willy!"), a bully, a sexual predator, and finally Alex's grandmother.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Played for Drama in Wolf Guy - Wolfen Crest, in which Haguro kidnaps Aoshika, has her raped, posts it online, and makes Akira watch it to draw him out in retaliation.
  • Hiruma from Eyeshield 21 does this to taunt Leonard Apollo, coach of the Nasa Aliens, after he cancels the US vs. Japan American football game. Hiruma depicts Apollo as a (literal) chicken getting his ass kicked by the Devil Bats in order to badger him into going through with the match.
  • Many pre-internet examples happened in Miss Machiko. Aside from the eponymous teacher regularly losing her clothes in public, there are many times in which those instances are caught on tape or photographed, then posted or shown on school bulletin boards, during a slide show, etc.
  • Heavy Object had Flag Eggnog who was furious that one of his gaffes was uploaded for the public to see and desired to hunt down and kill anyone who saw the video.

    Asian Animation 
  • Mechamato: Ninjamera strikes others when they're doing something embarassing or he'll cause them to suffer an accident for the same effect. After trapping them in a back-and-forth Time Loop Trap, he records the victims' embarassing spectacle to post it online and humiliate them, in videos quite alike to "boomerang" videos.

  • In Bill Engvall's bit about his colonoscopy, he notes that as he's being led out of the doctor's office by his wife, still loopy from the drugs and walking funny he stops for a moment to turn to the hospital staff and say "I better not see this on YouTube!"

    Comic Books 
  • In Empowered, our heroine is filmed while just getting conscious after being beaten down earlier. Unfortunately, she was drooling a bit, and her "mmhwhuh?" doesn't help. Neither do her Jerkass teammates who use the "youtoob" screenshot as their new monitor wallpaper.
  • Subverted in Kick-Ass, when Kick-Ass' first attempt to fight crime ends in a Curbstomp Battle in the criminals' favor. His brutal defeat is filmed by a bystander on his cell phone and the subsequent upload of this video on YouTube, specifically because he keeps trying to get back up to fight, becomes the inspiration for multiple others to join his cause.
  • In Prez (2015), the protagonist's first brush with fame comes when an embarrassing video uploaded by a co-worker goes viral.

    Comic Strips 
  • A storyline of Luann had the titular character unknowingly filmed in her underwear in the locker room by Tiffany, and then going viral within the school. However, Luann manages to get revenge when using the video to reveal the reflection of Tiffany on a locker mirror, pinning her as the culprit.
  • MAD: Monroe was once caught outside his house by a police officer who mistook him for a sex offender, and became #1 on YouTube the very next day.
  • In Phoebe and Her Unicorn, Dakota baits Phoebe into yelling, "MY NAME IS FEEEEEEEE-BEEEEEEEE!" and posts it on YouTube. It gets 37 hits in a split second and is never mentioned again.
  • Happens a couple of times in Pondus. One example includes Jokke (the goalkeeper on a local amateur football team) attempt to throw a football out of the goal, but somehow end up throwing it into the back of his own head and into the goal.
  • Zits:
    • In a strip, Jeremy tries to tell a friend about something embarrassing that happened to him in the school cafeteria, only to learn that it has already been posted on the internet.
    • Another occasion featured Jeremy and Sarah in a Love Is... parody called "Love Isn't..." Sarah had tripped while carrying her lunch tray, while Jeremy capturing everything on his phone. The caption read, "Love isn't posting everything on YouTube."

    Fan Works 
  • In the Death Note AU Barbelo, Light goes out Disguised in Drag in order to stop a criminal whose identity is unknown. L discovers footage of Light in a dress and uploads it onto "Yuutoob."
  • In Pokémon Reset Bloodlines, Youngster Joey won a chance to appear on DJ Mary and Professor Oak's radio show. During his appearance, he blurted out that he thought his Rattata was in the top percentage of Rattata. Of course, he never expected to become an Internet meme, and five years later people still remember it.
  • The One to Make It Stay: Alec planned to exploit this during Summer Sesh by deliberately sabotaging performances, setting his victims up to fail in hopes that the results would become Instant Web Hits. Naturally, this led to Mirelle getting akumatized when they discovered his plan and suffered a major panic attack, attracting Hawkmoth's attention.
  • Inverted twice over for Hamakaze in the Harry Potter/KanColle crossover Harry and the Shipgirls. She did two things that, due to being captured on magical photographs, wound up getting her a fan club.
  • Infinity Train The Kid And The Wolf has this as one of the main reasons why Handlebarb gets trainnapped; after the disastrous big show, she thinks the cameras aren't rolling anymore and gets into an argument with not only the 10 Speeds, but also Craig and his friends. Unfortunately, the livestream was still going, so by the time Handlebarb realizes this, she's already made herself look like a glory-seeking jerk who's willing to get her teammates hurt just for some fame. And since this is the internet, the news travel fast, quickly turning her into one of the most disliked kids of the Creek.
  • In With Pearl and Ruby Glowing, several characters' assaults are filmed and end up being publicized.
    • Ricky and Vicky beat up and rape Luan for making fun of them. She wets herself, and they film that, edit it to look like just a prank, and post it online.
    • Bill Cipher filmed himself raping Mr. Peabody, kept the tape for years, then persuaded Penny to show it to Sherman, thus traumatising him and humiliating Peabody.
    • Mr. Yut was filmed cursing out his sons' principal over an incident which resulted in the police being called, and had to apologise on air to keep his job as a talk show announcer.
    • Manny Mouser infiltrated North Korea with a spy cam in his glasses. He was captured, enslaved, and sexually abused, but they never found the camera. He handed over the footage for parts to be shown on TV, but there was an error in the editing and video of him being raped was shown on live television.
    • Harmony Squirrelson was threatened with the release of a video of him being gang-raped during his time as a political prisoner if he and Hazel didn't stop their human rights protests. Subverted in that he told them to go ahead and release it, since it was the other people in the video who were at fault and it only proved the point of the protests.
    • Eliza's father was livestreaming footage about sea turtles, and one of the turtles attempted to mate with Eliza, nearly drowning her. No one realised how traumatic it really was, and it underwent Memetic Mutation, resulting in "Thornberried" becoming an Unusual Euphemism, among other things.

    Films — Animation 
  • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls:
    • The human versions of the Cutie Mark Crusaders are chagrined to find everyone is laughing at a video they uploaded of themselves performing a song.
    • More importantly, Sunset Shimmer manages to upload a video of Twilight Sparkle trying to adjust to becoming a human, done in the style of a political attack ad, in an effort to embarrass her and keep her out of the running for Princess of the Fall Formal.
  • In The Secret Life of Pets Chloe, the obese cat, suffers a lengthy Humiliation Conga at a party that ends up YouTube's Pick of the Week and shown on the Times Square jumbotron.
  • In Hotel Transylvania 2 Dracula becomes the subject of a viral video when he was filmed at a summer camp for vampires, in an attempt to try to teach his grandson vampire skills. It doesn't take long for the remixes and parodies to become similarly popular.
  • Ron's Gone Wrong has Savannah getting swallowed and expelled by the B-Bots forming a mecha, to which says "It pooped me". Her own B-Bot records this statement and releases it online, and the video goes viral, costing her reputation as she becomes known as "Poop Girl".

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In 17 Again, the main character gets in a fight at school, which he loses badly. He tries to tell his "father", Ned, note  that it was a draw, but Ned says he saw it on YouTube.
  • American Pie has a pre-YouTube example: Jim has a chance to have sex with the hot foreign exchange student, and his friends convince him to set up a webcam and send them a link so they can watch. But his performance is more embarrassing than porn-worthy, and then he finds out that he accidentally sent the link to everyone at school.
  • In Bad Ass, Frank Vega beats up two skinheads on a bus which is filmed by several bystanders. Inverted for Frank as this video results in him gaining a huge boost in popularity and respect but played straight for the skinheads, who reveal during the finale that they were kicked out of their Aryan brotherhood, one's girlfriend has left him, and they are being bullied by any one over the age of 60. Just to further drive their humiliation home, Frank beats them up one more time even though he has just been brutally tortured and was wounded with a kukri.
  • In Barely Lethal the video of Megan beating up some guys while in her team mascot uniform quickly goes viral. Played with in that the video actually makes her more popular at school; Megan is only mortified by it because it means that Hardman, her former handler, can now easily track her down.
  • Berkshire County: When Kylie is giving a blow-job to Marcus, what she doesn't realize is that she's being videotaped doing so. The next day, she sees the video on YouTube, and is mercilessly mocked and bullied by her classmates.
  • In Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), the clip of the protagonist walking in his underwear through Times Square goes viral and receives 50,000 clicks on YouTube within a day.
  • Bonnie & Bonnie: Yara and Kiki are filmed while fighting with Bekim, Yara's brother, topless in Kiki's room. It's put on Youtube, with thousands viewing it.
  • In the 2013 version of Carrie, Chris films Carrie's humiliation in the shower and posts it on YouTube. This bites her in the ass when Miss Desjardin and the principal use the video to point to her as the ringleader of the prank.
  • In Brazilian film, the starting point is a sexual failure of the protagonist being put on YouTube and turning him into a local mockery.
  • Also from Brazil, De Pernas Pro Ar 2 has the workaholic protagonist fainting in exhaustion during a corporate meeting. Her son discovers the incident as it quickly hit Website/YouTube, complete with "dance remix" (two real blogs are even featured!).
  • In Detention, the 6 second clip of Riley's boob gets over 20,000 views. She starts thinking of herself as a porn star.
  • In Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules, Susan is filmed dancing while Rodrick's band performs at a talent show. The video is uploaded to YouTube where it gets view after view. While Greg and Rowley bathe in the fame, Rodrick yells up at them:
    Rodrick: GREG! YOU ARE SO DEAD!
  • In The Duff, Caitlyn caught Bianca having her little dance and action on the mannequin pretending it was Toby and later attempt to flirt with a bunch of guys, filmed it on her phone, later edited it to match the beat of "Anaconda" by Nicki Minaj and "#Selfie" by The Chainsmokers and uploaded it to YouTube and gained a viral hit just to humiliate Bianca further. Those videos got taken off later as cyberbullying though.
  • In Grudge Match a Running Gag has people pull out cell phones to record these two old guys (the protagonists) fighting. This is what inspires a promoter to get them out of retirement for one last match.
  • In Hancock, PR executive Ray (Jason Bateman) shows Hancock (Will Smith) YouTube videos of the objectionable actions he takes as a superhero. In one, he grabs ice cream from an ice cream truck nearly-naked with his clothes burnt off. In another, he's shown grabbing (by the tail) a whale that had beached itself, and tossing it out to sea hundreds of yards away, smashing a small boat. And in a third offscrean one, He fought crime butt naked.
    Hancock: I don't even remember that.
    Ray: Greenpeace does. Walter [the whale] does.
  • In Hellboy II: The Golden Army, one of Tom Manning's jobs is to deny the existence of Hellboy and the BPRD. So the fact that videos of Hellboy keep popping up on YouTube is indirectly embarrassing for him.
    Tom Manning: I suppress each photo, cell phone videos, they cost me a fortune, and then they show up on YouTube... God, I hate YouTube.
  • Hustle (2022): Inverted, social media is portrayed in a positive light here. Stanley has his daughter record videos of Bo playing basketball and post them online. This helps Bo get noticed, which leads to him getting hundreds of compliments, and as a result, more NBA auditions.
  • Threatened by Malcolm Tucker in In the Loop as merely one part of his plan to utterly destroy Simon Foster should the latter turn on him; "Well if you want to try and turn this into some anti-war protest, expect to hear your 'Mountain of Conflict' soundbite everywhere: from ringtones to a fucking dance mix on YouTube. And I will marshal all the media forces of darkness to hound you to an assisted suicide." Ironically, while the movie is somewhat coy about exactly when it is set and which conflict in the middle-east it is referring to, the most obvious inspiration - the invasion of Iraq to topple Saddam Hussein, the prelude to which involved the British government choosing to prop up America's dubious or downright false allegations about WMDs, etcetera - occurred before YouTube even existed.
  • Near the beginning of Iron Man 2, Tony is Hauled Before a Senate Subcommittee because he refuses to share his signature Powered Armor with the US government. He proceeds to make a mockery of it. By the time he gets home, his antics are already on YouTube with 1,890,873 views, much to Tony's amusement.
  • Used seriously in National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets with the revelation that one of Ben's ancestors may have been complicit in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Ben's father compares the situation to that of Samuel Mudd, who was convicted for treating John Wilkes Booth but later pardoned, yet could never live it down. Once the video goes online, he complains that it'll never go away.
  • In the Mexican movie No manches, Frida-2 the protagonist gets violently ill and projectile vomits on the priest at his wedding. Other characters happily mock him by showing him the video that's made the rounds on social media.
  • In Searching, David finds a comment of a kid making gross comments about his missing daughter, tracks him down and starts a fight with him. "Crazy Dad at Theater" quickly goes viral.
  • Happens several times in Sex Drive. Felicia is taking a piss in the car's radiator to give it some needed fluid — a car comes by and one of the kids in the back takes a picture which ends up on Ian gets a boner at an abstinence rally and people video and post it. Etc.
  • In Shazam Freddy decides to record Billy's attempts to figure out his powers and upload them to YouTube. Some of which, such as the "flying test" by running up a skate ramp and the "teleportation test" that Freddy turned into a "fireproofing" test, result in some quite Amusing Injuries. The unnamed hero (as both couldn't think of a good name, specially as either Captain Marvel or Shazam never crosses their minds) becomes a viral sensation as a result.
  • Again, used seriously in Skyfall. A hard drive containing the identities and current assignments of all the undercover NATO agents is compromised. Silva is posting them online at a rate of five each week. Also, three of the agents were caught and had their executions filmed and put on YouTube.
  • Played seriously in Unfriended as Laura Barns is Driven to Suicide by the humiliating video of her having soiled herself after passing out that is posted online (and the subsequent website that was set up telling her to kill herself).
  • In Zack and Miri Make a Porno, a video of Miri in her "granny panties" becomes an instant sensation, inspiring the characters to try and make a movie.
  • In They/Them, Ash recites a poem about their gender in private, and shortly after, realizes that they were being recorded the whole time. Afterwards, the video is leaked onto social media, with commenters misgendering, deadnaming, and labeling Ash an "attention whore".

  • Artemis Fowl does this to one of the main villains in one book. The video of Holly's encounter with a troll is later used by the academy as a prime example of how not to fight a troll.
  • Rivers of London: In Moon Over Soho, Peter hooks up with Simone on a rooftop. Shortly after she leaves to fetch breakfast, he realizes he's left his clothes down in her apartment, and anxiously scans the horizon for helicopters because he's afraid someone may put him on YouTube as "Naked Dickhead On Roof LOL".
  • In Troy Rising, Comet earns her callsign by shooting the gap of a closing bay door and surviving a "hard landing" against the back wall of the bay with zero passenger casualties. This happened to be the main bay of Troy, the largest battle station in the solar system with a kilometer-thick door made of solid nickel-iron. Video footage of her (heroic, life-saving, incredibly necessary) stunt goes viral. The evening news considers it to be more exciting than the subsequent battle against the alien fleet that forced her to do it in the first place. The humiliating part of it is that her CO doesn't know whether to promote her or court-martial her. She is finally reassigned to Thermopylae so she can figure out why they are having such a high rate of hardware failure, which is a punishment.
  • Vampire Mine by Kerrelyn Sparks has this. One of the villains uploads a video to YouTube showing one of the vampires turning to dust upon dying to prove that vampires exist and, essentially, ruin their existence.
  • In Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules, Greg's local school's talent show is taped for a local cable TV channel, and the cameramen zoom onto Mom's dancing during Loded Diper's performance. It ends up going viral after someone uploads the clip onto YouTube, where it is known as the "Dancing Mom" video. Greg himself also gets teased about it at school.
  • Harmonic Feedback: Once a boy named Kyle confessed his undying love for Drea behind the school library. She believed him until his friends came out laughing. They'd filmed the whole thing, and quickly posted it online.
  • In Dogs Don't Talk, Ben finally decides he's had enough of The Bully, Blake Barker, and beats him up. Then Ben's mom and their two dogs show up, and the dogs climb all over Blake. A girl films it and uploads it to Facebook, resulting in comments like "Blake likes it doggy style!" Even months later, a total stranger recognizes Ben's dog as the one that humped Blake. The video is a problem for Ben, too, as he and Blake both get in trouble for fighting, but at least his wrestling teammates respect him more.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 7 Yüz: In "Eşitlik", Dilek is subject to humiliation and shame after an old recording of a sexual encounter goes viral, shared by her students, colleagues, neighbors, and even her fiancé's boss. Even after the courts grant her a small victory and order websites to remove the video, she is warned that it will be impossible to destroy all copies of the recording.
  • One episode of 30 Rock shows the 1-900 sex line advertisement Liz did early in her career. It's ... special.
  • The Baby-Sitters Club (2020): After Stacey informs Mrs. Newton that her son's sitter from the Baby-Sitters Agency let him play in the streets by himself, the agency retaliates by spreading a video of Stacey having a diabetic seizure to her clients. She mentions that this also happened at her old school and drove her away from all her other friends who also shared it.
  • The Big Bang Theory:
    • Sheldon gives a drunken acceptance speech for an award banquet. The video is up on YouTube and goes viral.
    • So does the incident where Sheldon and Leonard fight at a scientific conference.
    • Also, the incident where Raj got drunk while doing a speech during Howard's bachelor party.
  • In one episode of Blue Bloods an anti-NYPD blogger posts a video of a cop beating the crap out of an old man. He had maliciously edited out the part where the old man made a grab for the officer's Glock. Later a music video version turns up, set to "Another One Bites the Dust". Frank gets an A.D.A. to subpoena the original and releases it to the media to prove to the world that the officer acted within policy and puts him back on duty.
  • Bunheads combines this scene with a Stupid Statement Dance Mix to get: It's Time To Dance!
  • Invoked in Brooklyn Nine-Nine 's 4th season premier "Coral Palms". Since Jake and Holt are in witness protection in Florida after getting death threats from crime boss Jimmy Figgis, any internet exposure is justifiably a risk to them. So when they are both filmed getting run over by go-karts (while Holt is wearing a silly corn dog costume) by a woman who wants to make it viral, they naturally try to stop her at all costs. This trope kicks in when they get their hands on the video then upload it themselves in order to lure Figgis towards a trap. Figgis apparently sees it immediately, since he tracks them and makes his way to Florida in what's presumably a few days.
  • An episode of The Closer had Brenda being hit repeatedly with a bouquet by a Bridezilla while trying to shut down a church to examine extra bodies being put in coffins to cover up murders. Later in the episode, Chief Pope tells her that the woman's wedding photographers got it on video, and the video has gone viral. "Congratulations — you're currently the most downloaded fully-clothed woman on the Internet."
  • While apparently falling in a clip on The Colbert Report, Stephen shouted: "Please nobody post this on YouTube!"
  • Degrassi: The Next Generation uses this in season 5's opener. Manny's drunk, and she strips off her top and bra and says "I'm going to be an actress, Academy Award-winning, and you can sell this for a million dollars because I. Am. Going to be. FAMOUS!!!!" in front of Peter.
  • Doctor Who: Used as a threat in "The Girl Who Died". The Doctor and Clara trick the aliens of the week into being terrified of things like the figurehead of a Viking longship, then threaten to post it to, basically, Space YouTube to completely ruin the aliens' reputation as badass warriors unless they go away.
  • Marnie Michaels on Girls shot a really bad music video in pursuit of her music career. It gets uploaded to YouTube. It makes everyone very uncomfortable.
  • Glee:
    • A video of Sue Sylvester jazzercizing is uploaded to YouTube and becomes so popular that it leads to a duet with Olivia Newton-John.
    • Subverted when Sue threatens to post an embarrassing airline safety video the principal was in. Turns out he had posted it himself and it only got three hits.
    • Played straight again in "The Kiss That Missed" humiliation at Nationals and the "Mercedes Inferno" performance of Disco Inferno.
    • Rachel's college dance instructor, Cassandra July, is a performer whose rise to fame was cut short when she attacked an audience member for answering his cell phone during her show. Someone recorded the whole thing and put it online, and the resulting humiliation sank her career just as it was getting off the ground, causing her to settle for teaching since it was the only work she could get. Needless to say, she has a massive chip on her shoulder and is a Lady Drunk.
  • The Good Place:
    • Eleanor exploited this with a bitchy roommate who sued a dry cleaner and drove his business into bankruptcy for breaking the zipper on her favorite dress (which was actually Eleanor's fault), which earned her roommate the unflattering nickname "Dress Bitch".
    • Chidi counsels a friend to get back in shape. The friend's leg tendons snap at the gym, he gets a concussion in the accident and pees himself. 62,000 views on YouTube.
  • Hardball: In "Sorry Salwa", Tiff loses a handball battle to Salwa, so she uploads an embarrassing video of Ms Crapper dancing - and frames Salwa. Salwa is banned from handball at school.
  • How I Met Your Mother:
    • Marshall discovers that there's a video of him interrupting a college news report by running in naked and drunk, calling himself Beercules. He finds the guy who posted it and tries to get him to take it down, but it ends up happening again.
    • There are also Robin's old videos as Canadian teen pop idol Robin Sparkles.
    • Videos of Ted breaking down while giving speeches at weddings are a minor YouTube hit.
    • There is also a video of Robin vomiting on her news show. It's heavily implied that Barney posted the video on YouTube.
      • She also accidentally revealed to Her that there exists footage of her being attacked by an owl on live TV. The only reason it never went viral.was because her show was on at 3AM and almost no viewers.
  • The Latest Buzz: In "The Infamous Issue", Rebecca's hilariously bad dancing leaks online on Glee Tube and she becomes a laughing stock.
  • Lie to Me: In "Killer App", Cal leaks an audio clip of Zach being an ass onto the Internet. Cal trying to be hip by using the latest buzzword announces that it went viral.
  • On Men of a Certain Age, an embarrassing commercial Terry was in from the '80s is posted on YouTube. It gets millions of viewers, inspires remixes, and becomes so popular that the company wants Terry and the original actress to reprise their roles.
  • On Misfits, Rudy accidentally sends the video he made of Jess defecating to his entire contact list (It Makes Just As Much Sense In Context). Someone puts the video on the internet, and it goes viral. Jess is not pleased when she finds out. Probation worker Greg tries to comfort Jess by telling her a third-person account of how a young man on whom he had a crush passed the video Greg sent him to confess his feelings around the pre-YouTube internet.
  • Phil Dunphy of Modern Family stands up at a town council meeting and defends himself (badly) from accusations that he's a pervert. A video called "Public meeting pervert — autotuned" quickly goes viral.
  • Mortified: In "Mother in the Nude", the footage of Taylor almost drowning in a mermaid costume and Don stripping down to his underwear to save her goes viral and achieves worldwide news coverage.
  • Mustangs FC: Marnie is forced to video Lara's gymnastics practice routine in the backyard. When Lara slips and crashes into the fence, Marnie uploads this clip and it goes viral. Lara takes revenge by joining Marnie's soccer team.
  • In the NCIS: Los Angeles episode "SEAL Hunter", the gang does this to a fake SEAL after Sam (a real SEAL) beats the crap out of him. Everyone with a computer gets to watch him crying "I'm not a SEAL, man! I'm sorry!"
  • Done in The Office (US) to Andy, who mentions that there is even a support group for YouTube victims. Although he bounces back and even finds himself somewhat subject to You Are the New Trend.
  • Pandora: Pilar's involuntary streaking into the Black Hole is made more humiliating when the video gets sent to everyone in the academy.
  • Discussed briefly in QI. The panel was discussing the folding of paper, and what was needed to fold a piece of paper in half X number of times. Stephen Fry said, "What you need is length and thickness", to which Alan eventually replied, "That's gonna be snipped out, straight on YouTube." It was, the very next day.
  • This is Deconstructed in's "A Tangled Web". The victim in question, Francine, has to leave her school because of the constant torment.
  • Rizzoli & Isles: In "Somebody's Watching Me", Jane spills coffee on a woman in a coffee store. The incident is filmed, edited to make her appear a total bitch, and put on YouTube where it becomes a viral hit. The incident turns out to be a set-up to sue Jane and force her to sell her condo.
  • Saturday Night Live had a one-off (so far) Show Within a Show "I Didn't Ask for This", where people with embarrassing videos posted to YouTube came on and said "I Didn't Ask for This." One of them did something embarrassing on the show and the others took cellphone videos of it and posted it.
  • Schitt's Creek:
    • In Season 3, Ted accidentally disrobes several times in full view of his vet office's bunny cam. He is at first humiliated, but when it wins him a bevy of admiring new clients, some of whom do not even own pets and just want to discuss getting a pet, he agrees to keep the camera up.
    • Averted in Season 6, Moira accidentally livestreams a conversation with Patrick about David's bedwetting. David is highly sensitive and already humiliated enough, so Moira, Alexis and Patrick agree to keep the livestream a secret from him forever and it soon blows over.
  • The TV adaptation of Scream opens with Alpha Bitch Nina and her boyfriend Tyler filming her classmate Audrey making out with another girl, then uploading it to Cliplicious and outing her as a lesbian. Nina and Tyler are brutally murdered soon after, possibly as retaliation for the video.
  • Played seriously on Teen Wolf. Erica, who used to be epileptic, tells Stiles that the one saving grace about her fits was that she couldn't remember them afterwards — and then she had a seizure in class and her classmates, instead of helping her, uploaded a video of it to YouTube. One begins to understand why she accepted the bite.
  • The Thick of It:
    • A Deleted Scene from this political satire shows party spin-doctor Malcolm Tucker dashing away from being interviewed for a Daily Telegraph live podcast. Naturally, it gets put on their website with the headline "Tucker Spurns Our Man on the Ground". Given that Malcolm is a tremendous Jerkass, it's not long before people are gleefully mocking it.
    • A non-deleted scene mentions that when Niccola Murray (whose husband has been revealed to have ethically questionable business ties) gets manipulated into smiling and thumbs-upping in front of a sign that says "I AM BENT" (it actually reads LIAM BENTLEY but the shot has been zoomed-in and cut), someone forwarded her a video on YouTube of her humiliation coupled with some sort of dance mix. Her complaints aren't merely about the fact that someone did it, but that it isn't even funny.
  • In Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, it isn't enough that Titus humiliated himself in an interview, but a Stupid Statement Dance Mix got released... and made his wife discover him and seek him out. A later episode also has Xanthippe revealing a video of her Potty Failure during a spelling bee is online, and Kimmy actively joins a friend's impromptu rap during philosophy class because she prefers that this comes up in searches for her name rather than her past as a victim of a cult.
  • Victorious: During a play, the harness Trina's wearing breaks, causing her to go flying around the stage and seriously injuring her. Jade films this and posts the video online. Later, she's seen laughing at the comments on the video.
  • Vida: Marisol gives a guy oral sex, then a video he took of this gets shared around, humiliating her.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Eclipse Phase has the negative trait "Wait, that was you?" where a character was the subject of an embarrassing viral video or meme sometime in the past and once per session the GM can declare that an NPC recognizes them, invoking a social penalty. Conversely, the positive trait "You're that guy!" reflects good internet fame.

    Video Games 
  • During a bit of much-needed revelry in the Mass Effect 3 DLC Citadel, former squad member (and Covert Pervert, and stealth expert) Kasumi Goto pops in on various drunken goings-on to "take pictures" and post them on whatever has replaced YouTube in the future. She threatens/offers to record Jack and Miranda if the Commander suggests they "work out their issues", and actually records Tali drunkenly imitating the two Normandies, which becomes an Instant Web Hit. However, whatever it was Traynor did with EDI apparently didn't make it onto the extranet, much to the former's relief.
  • In Sir Basil Pike Public School, Tony uploads an old video of Julia he got from Tammy onto "his page". Julia fears that she's "ruined" because of it, and decides to get Tammy back by pretending to be Tariq, whom Tammy has a crush on.
  • In Life Is Strange, a video of drugged Kate Marsh making out (and possibly more) with most of the members at a school party made its way onto YouTube and the URL was distributed among the student body. A few people have taken it upon themselves to make Kate's life a living hell over it, leading her to be Driven to Suicide.
  • The Excuse Plot of Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit involves Prince Ash tracking down and killing 100 monsters who had seen an embarrassing photo of him playing with his favorite rubbery ducky that had been posted on the Hellternet.

    Visual Novels 
  • Occurs if you choose to take a photo of Robin in One Night Stand while she's sleeping to prove to Gary you did get lucky. A friend sends her the photo shortly after, and it spreads all around Facebook.
  • This occurs once in ClockUp's Euphoria. Or more exactly, with Nico Nico Douga (since it's Japan). In Rika's route, one of the games involves simple, uh, "Keyhole" stuff, except that it's being broadcast through the Internet and Rika has to say very embarrassing things to the camera. The game never goes into detail about the implications of this, but the humiliation part is here, just as the nasty comments you would expect from anonymous people on the Internet, floating through the screen.

    Web Animation 
  • The main plot of Mario Pissing is that Mario is irate over a video of him urinating off a cliff going viral, so he attempts to find and kill everyone who's seen the video.

    Web Comics 

    Web Videos 
  • Done in this video, where over a billion people avidly mock a guy for... legally buying anime.
  • Played with in The Lizzie Bennet Diaries:
    • Downplayed with Darcy and Bing discovering Lizzie's videos. In the first case, Lizzie is nervous that Darcy will sue her or get Charlotte fired now that he knows she talked about him in an unflattering way online, but he's more embarrassed by the way she sees him than by his being on Youtube. In the second case, Bing knew about the videos but thought they were only for Charlotte, and so did and said a few things he might not have if he had known. He figures it out on his own, but isn't too upset by it.
    • Played for Drama with Wickham's sex tape of Lydia. Not only was the video taken without Lydia's knowledge, and thus a massive betrayal of what Lydia thought was a loving relationship, but it was set to be posted to a (fictional) porn site once the countdown ended on Valentine's Day 2013. Once released, it would permanently ruin Lydia's reputation and any future prospects, all to stick it to Lizzie and Darcy for revealing his bad deeds to the internet. Defied, since Darcy secretly bought the site to stop them from releasing the video before it was set to be released.
  • In Noob, one of the players gets his avatar stuck in dancing mode by a hacker on regular basis and a guildmate that hates him films every single occurrence to post on her blog.
  • Smosh: The Movie combines this with Trapped in TV Land as Anthony and Ian attempt to get inside the humiliating video to change it.
  • The Veronica Exclusive features this when, having found out about Veronica insulting them on her vlog, the Heathers steal Veronica's personal diary and read it aloud on camera, uploading the footage to the internet. However, Veronica takes the video down almost immediately, and then the death of Heather Chandler diverts all attention from the vlog, anyway.
  • Jim Browning's YouTube channel is dedicated to shaming tech support scammers and revealing details of their operations.

    Western Animation 
  • The Amazing World of Gumball:
    • In the episode "The Secret", the ending reveals that Darwin uploaded a video of Gumball falling all over himself trying to dance.
    • The episode "The Internet" centers around Gumball accidentally uploading a video of himself freaking out in response to watching a Screamer Prank. Darwin assures him that there are so many videos online that nobody will see it, only for the video to quickly get so many views that the numbers exceed what exists in math, begin piling up, then pour out of the side of the monitor.
  • In American Dad! when Stan defecated in a swimming pool while doing a cannonball. Everywhere he turns, people laugh at him viewing the video footage. He fakes his death and escapes to where no one heard his misfortune, but fails. Stan then attempts to put the same fate on President Obama, so people will forget his incident. It all turns out to be his dream fantasy before diving (still with intestinal trouble)... until he defecates in the pool for real.
  • Arthur: "Flippity Francine" has Muffy post a humiliating video of Francine slipping on mud, bouncing off a pile of soccer balls and face-first into another pile of mud. The trope itself is played with; while Francine is initially embarrassed by the video, she decides to embrace being "Flippity Francine" after seeing how many people found it funny. Eventually, though, she dislikes how everyone is starting to see her as only Flippity Francine and nothing else, and she wants things to go back to normal.
  • The Fairly OddParents:
    • In "Information Stupor Highway", Timmy stumbles across the scene of Crocker being forced to try on a red dress by his mother and records it for future humiliation. The file (put in the place of video evidence of Timmy's fairies) is eventually uploaded to every media outlet in the world and the entire planet gets a laugh out of it, much to Crocker's embarrassment.
    • In the Wishology movie, Timmy uploads a cartoon of Dark Laser making farting noises (with the help of a whoopie cushion) to get him to come down to Earth so Timmy can recruit him into his Enemy Mine against The Darkness and use his spaceship.
  • Bender and Fry's twitter battle in the Futurama episode "Attack of the Killer App" ends with Fry releasing a video of Leela's singing butt boil to the world. To make it up to her, he releases a worse one of himself diving into a hot tub full of two-headed goat puke. And hitting the concrete instead. And then falling in anyway.
  • The Garfield Show episode "Online Arbuckle" had Garfield create humiliating videos of Jon and posting them online, instantly turning his owner into the town's laughingstock. After seeing how much pain the humiliation causes Jon, Garfield gets everyone to forget about Jon by switching to making embarrassing videos of Nermal. Nermal isn't very happy about this at first, but goes along with it after realizing how popular the videos make him.
  • The Jimmy Two-Shoes episode "Spew Tube", where Heloise uploads an embarrassing home movie of Lucius to Miseryville's equivalent of YouTube, turning Lucius into the town laughingstock.
  • Kick Buttowski tries to take the #1 spot on "rank of awesome" and eventually succeeds; and every time Brad embarrasses himself in front of a crowd, it ends up with a video uploaded to the internet.
  • In the Littlest Pet Shop (2012) episode "What, Meme Worry?" Brittany and Whittany Biskit see a viral meme of Sunil the mongoose, which has received all thumbs up. Determined to become famous in a similar fashion, the twins make a music video of themselves (and their rapping butler) singing and rapping about how cute the two of them are. The video also goes viral but receives nothing but negative feedback; even a recording of Zoe howling in disgust at the song receives entirely positive reception, even more than Sunil's meme.
  • The Lizzie episode "Coma Bae" has Lizzie find a viral video of Jaden getting injured in an accident and share it with the other children at school, which causes Jaden a ton of humiliation. After finding out that Jaden is in the hospital and feeling guilty about exploiting his pain by sharing the video, Lizzie tries to arrange for her class to visit Jaden, only for Brooklyn to make a new viral video of Jaden loudly farting. In the end, Lizzie makes it up to Jaden by overshadowing the previous viral videos with one where she uses a bottle to make her lips swollen.
  • Mao Mao: Heroes of Pure Heart: Mao Mao's public, naked meltdown after spending the entire night trying to get his clothes back ends up on Pure Heart Valley's answer to Youtube. The only reason Badgerclops didn't intervene was because he found it hilarious. Mao eventually tracks down the one who filmed and uploaded the incident: Gary.
  • Phineas and Ferb:
  • In South Park, when Randy Marsh stupidly says the N-word on Wheel of Fortune, Cartman later notes how many times he watched the clip on YouTube.
  • Steven Universe: In "Dewey Wins", Mayor Dewey is mortified to learn that a video of him getting hit in the face with a tomato wound up on TubeTube.
    Dewey: I'm finished, Universe. I don't know of many political figures that have made a comeback after getting a tomato to the face!
  • Subverted in the Transformers: Rescue Bots Academy episode "Bot Blog", where Whirl uploads a video of Hot Shot tripping and falling onto Cybertronian social media and later dreads Hot Shot getting angry about a humiliating video of him being posted online without his consent. Not only does Hot Shot actually like the idea of being in a popular viral video regardless of what happens to him in it, but Ratchet also reveals that Bot Blog was set so that only Cybertronians who were at the Academy could see the video and that fake hits were made to teach Whirl a lesson about posting videos of people without permission.
  • In the We Bare Bears episode "Panda's Sneeze", Panda's sneezing video makes him an instant star, which the shy Panda doesn't wish to be.

    Real Life 
  • Several cases are examined in detail in Jon Ronson's non-fiction book So You've Been Publicly Shamed, including interviews with those who were subjected to it and a look at the historical context of public humiliation as a judicial punishment.
  • The Star Wars Kid, who accidentally left a video of himself swinging a golf club like a lightsaber in his school, became an Internet phenomenon when someone else found it and was subsequently subjected to bullying. Ghyslain Raza, the kid in question, is now a lawyer and works to fight cyber-bullying.
  • The act of SWATing (calling SWAT with a false lead) someone who is streaming online is done for no other reason than to have the person humiliated online as it happens on live broadcasting. The act of pranking someone this way is extremely dangerous since SWAT operatives take their jobs very seriously and don't know whether or not the person they're going after is heavily armed or have any hostages. People have died as a result of these sorts of incidents. As a result, at least one serial SWATer is currently serving prison time for his "pranks." Not to mention that you'd be hard-pressed to pull off a SWAT prank as laws have been proposed and/or enacted to counter this, imposing harsh penalties to those responsible for (at best) wasting police resources or (at worst) causing injuries and deaths. Some have advocated classifying SWATing as a form of (domestic) terrorism due to its use as an intimidation tactic and to sow discord.
  • Any truck driver in Durham, North Carolina stupid enough to try and drive their giant trucks through the 11'8" Bridge needs to be afraid because there are two video cameras positioned to watch the bridge and upload every crash to YouTube, immortalizing the driver's mistake.
  • In a similar vein, anyone that does event parking on a certain backlot in Dallas, Texas, will be towed at their expense and immortalized on the GTOger channel; bonus points if they decide to tinkle or vomit at the lot from too much partying. The hero ALWAYS steps up, after all.
  • Jack Rebney, the Winnebago Man, was an embittered recluse partly because of his YouTube fame. Eventually he came out of his shell, after realising his viewers were laughing with him rather than at him.


Video Example(s):



Hancock grabs a beached whale by the tail and throws it back into the ocean where it hits a boat and capsizes it. This is just one of many incidents on YouTube that Ray found of Hancock's "exploits."

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / InstantHumiliationJustAddYouTube

Media sources: