Walmart Employee Says She Felt Humiliated by YouTuber Lauren Love's Prank
The YouTuber walked into a Texas store, pretended to be the CEO and "fired" employees.
The video, which was uploaded last month to her shared YouTube account with her partner, Joel Ashley, is titled "CEO Firing People Prank IN THE HOOD (GONE WRONG)." It has since been deleted.
In the clip, Love approaches various employees inside the Richmond store claiming to be in a position of management and then "fires them"
In one case, she tells an employee she is "CEO of this" and accuses the man of working too slowly. "I'll have to take your badge and your jacket from you; you're fired," she says.
Stunned, the man drops his vest on the floor.
The YouTube account, Joel and Lauren Tv, includes many similar prank-type videos, but some say this one went too far, particularly given one of the victims is a woman dependent on the job to care for her husband after he suffered a heart attack.
Maria Leones, the employee in question, told multiple local Texas TV stations that her husband is still recovering from the medical scare and she relies on the position for the insurance it provides to help cover her husband's medical bills.
In the video when Love approaches her and "fires" her, Leones bursts into tears.
"I felt so powerless at that time," she later told KTRK. “Really, I was really so crushed."
Love apologizes in the video after Leones started to cry. "Oh my God. I'm sorry. Don't cry," she says.
In a statement to Inside Edition, Walmart condemned the prank.
"This prank is offensive and the people responsible are no longer welcome in our stores," the company said in a statement. "We've taken actions on behalf of our associates, including asking YouTube to remove the video and calling their attention to the bullying nature of this hoax. Our associates work hard every day to serve our customers.
"They do a fantastic job, deserve better than being subjected to such disrespect."
Love told KTRK she had no comment when contacted but did reiterate she was sorry for what happened to Leones. "Honestly, the last one, I felt so bad, she started crying," she said.
While YouTube does ban content that is explicit, violent and hateful, it does not ban pranks and Love is not alone in her prank. There are scores of fake firing videos to be found on the site.
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