In the mid-aughts, few shows captured the zeitgeist quite like Dateline NBC’s “To Catch a Predator,” starring host Chris Hansen.
The reality television series saw Hansen and his team pose as underage children in online forums to entice potential statutory rapists to come visit the “child” at home.
Most episodes followed a similar structure, in which the adult would meet an actor posing as a young child, before Hansen and his camera crew would swoop in for the ultimate “gotcha” moment.
The show only lasted from 2004 to 2007, due in no small part to its exploding popularity (thus making it much harder to nab potential criminals). But the influence of the show can still be felt all these years later.
Imitators and impersonators have swiftly cropped up since “To Catch a Predator” finished its run, with everyone from clout-chasing vigilantes to those genuinely concerned for children getting in on the action.
Seeing some sort of riff on “To Catch a Predator” in 2023 is hardly novel or new — so that should tell you something about this wildly viral video that is making the rounds on the internet.
YouTube content creator Skeeter Jean, who has a million subscribers, posted a video on Friday titled “Playing a Pred in Mortal Kombat 1: If he Loses, I Call the Cops.”
If you need that title broken down, “Pred” is shorthand for “child predator” and “Mortal Kombat 1” is a new fighting video game that just released in September.
The rest of the title speaks for itself.
WARNING: The following video contains content that some viewers may find disturbing
In the viral clip, which has garnered over a half-million views in just a day, Jean fills in for the role of Hansen as he and his team lured a man who was apparently trying to meet an underage girl.
But whereas when Hansen typically revealed himself, he would give the person a chance to explain themselves, Jean had a different offer for the person identified simply as “Big Herm.”
“So we’re going to be in the other room while he’s playing the game with who he thinks is a, you know, [underaged] girl, and uh, I’m going to come out and have a few words with him and before we let him go, we’re going to give him a choice.
“He’s going to be able to play me in a first to three [wins in] Mortal Kombat and if he wins, he gets to walk away scot-free, and if he loses, then you know, unfortunately we’re going to have to get the authorities involved, because this is illegal activity.”
The rest of the video goes as one would expect: Jean beats “Big Herm” before “authorities” get involved.
Now, this is where things get very odd and brings the validity of this stunt into question … as “Big Herm” seemed to get off with little more than a slap on the wrist.
A quick glance at Jean’s YouTube page also reveals that he calls himself a “professional Chris Hansen” impersonator and shows a number of similar stunt videos (one was titled “49 Year Old Man Comes to Meet Underage Boy but Meets Michael Myers Instead.”)
In most of these videos, the accused men genuinely seem distraught and contrite for whatever it is they are allegedly there to do with young children … but it’s difficult to shake the feeling that this is as real as a pro-wrestling outcome.
Feel free to sound off in the comments on whether or not you think this stunt was real.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.