This weekend I wrote about the devastating death of the friendly Canadian hitchhiking robot, hitchBOT. While I’m sure some people would find it silly to be so heartbroken over a broken robot, most of us saw it as the senseless destruction of something created only to bring happiness to strangers, as well as the ultimate depressing example of Why We Can’t Have Nice Things. The question we were left with, of course, was who the hell would do something like this? Well, it turns out the answer to that is kinda weird.
The robot was last seen in the company of two YouTube/Periscope/other-internet-things-I-don’t-understand stars… I’ll wait while you unroll your eyes.
Here’s a picture of the two guys and their questionable taste in hats, after picking up hitchBot.
Now, these guys say they left the robot on a bench Friday night, hours before hitchBOT was destroyed. I want to give them the benefit of the doubt and not jump to conclusions based on their fedora usage or the pesky fact that they were the last people seen with the bot. Look, they even have an airtight alibi in the form of this picture of them leaving hitchBOT on a bench. AIRTIGHT, RIGHT?
One of the guys, Jesse Wellens, went into Twitter vigilante mode yesterday, vowing to find security footage of the attack, and hey, wouldn’t you know? He actually found some.
So let’s ignore the fact that this is very clearly staged so that you can’t actually see what’s happening in the (still disturbing, as of about the 2 minute mark) video, or the fact that, based on this Google Street View photo, there’s no indication that there’s actually a security camera in the spot where that video would have been taken from. (One could have been put in later, sure.)
Some people have started noticing, though, that the outfit the attacker is wearing is the same one often worn by the second Philadelphia vlogger, Ed Bassmaster, especially when he’s in character as his alterego ‘Always Teste.’
Now, despite the fact that Bassmaster has a pretty solid defense—
—It’s pretty obvious that these guys made that video, right? Especially because both of them have YouTube followings based on their pranking videos. So maybe they did destroy hitchBOT. Or maybe they’re just “pranking” us into thinking they did because they, I don’t know, maybe just want us to be talking about them, in which case, congratulations I guess? The decapitation of an adorable robot friend is a pretty shitty thing to make fake a fake video of, but it kinda seems like your whole identity is based around people thinking you’re an asshole, so well done.
Now that your rage meter is in the red, here’s a bit of nice news: a Kickstarter campaign was started to rebuild hitchBOT, and in the first day it surpassed its meager goal nearly fourfold. Okay, this is kind of weird because the campaign wasn’t started by or for the original creators, but by a dude in Philadelphia who says he’ll ask the Canadian creators for “advice,” but that’s it. I’m skeptical of this guy potentially ending up with tens of thousands of dollars for rebuilding a robot he says will cost $1,200, having nothing to do with its original creation or purpose beyond getting it to San Francisco, but for now I’m just going to choose to believe this is a nice thing BECAUSE THIS LITTLE ROBOT HAS MADE MY HEART BREAK TOO HARD ALREADY.