This video shows a prank staged in New York City

Copyright AFP 2017-2020. All rights reserved.

A video viewed hundreds of thousands of times across Facebook, Twitter and YouTube purports to show a funeral director throwing a dead body out of a hearse upon receiving a bad cheque. The claim is false; the dispute is in fact part of a prank that was staged in New York City.

The video was published here on Facebook on May 6, 2020, and has been viewed more than 680,000 times since.

A screenshot taken on May 12, 2020, of the misleading post by Facebook page Bad Guys Daily 壞男人日報

The 32-second video shows a street row, during which people can be heard arguing and screaming in English. 

At the seven-second mark, a man in a newsboy cap throws what appears to be a dead body out of a vehicle and hurls it onto another one. 

The post’s traditional Chinese-language caption translates to English as: “New York / A funeral director received a ‘bad cheque’. He was furious and hurled the dead body onto the family’s car, which caused a fight between the two parties. #DoNotIssueBadCheque”. 

A similar description in English can be seen in a white box at the top of the video. 

The footage, alongside a similar claim in Chinese, was also shared here on Facebook, here on Twitter and here on YouTube. Similar English-language posts can be found here, here and here on Facebook, here on Twitter, and also on YouTube here, here and here.

In fact, the video shows a staged prank.

A reverse image search based on a screenshot extracted from the video in the misleading post found a longer version uploaded here on YouTube on February 4, 2020. The post is titled “Dead Body Funeral Prank (Gone Wrong!)".

The footage in the misleading post starts at the one-minute 56-second mark of the YouTube video.

The caption of the YouTube video states: “The dead body of a family member's nephew was thrown out of a hearse because the driver didn't get the payment on the day of the funeral. Prank gone wrong!”

Below is a screenshot comparison between the footage in the misleading post (L) and the YouTube video (R):

Screenshot comparison between the footage in the misleading post (L) and the YouTube video (R)

The longer video explains how the prank is staged and shows the performance from multiple angles. At the 55-second mark, a man with long hair told the camera he would play the “dead guy”. 

The video was filmed near 2 Dean Street, New York, according to Google Street View.