Celebrities are being duped into giving shout-outs to child molesters and serial killers as part of an Australian comedian’s controversial TikTok prank.
Tom Armstrong, an internet comedian and podcaster, uploaded a video to TikTok this week in which Carole Baskin, of Tiger King fame, delivers a heartfelt happy birthday message to convicted sex offender Rolf Harris.
“Hey all you cool cats and kittens, it’s Carole Baskin at Big Cat Rescue,” Baskin says in the video, filmed as part of a Cameo appearance. “Hi Rolf Harris—all your kids wanted to get together and tell you that you have really touched them and that they love all that you have done for them.
“I hear there’s a lot of great stories about you and your best friend, Jimmy Saville—can’t wait to hear those.”
Harris was jailed in 2014 after being sentenced over twelve counts of indecent assault on four teenage female victims during the 70s and 80s. Jimmy Saville, who died in 2011, was posthumously accused of hundreds of cases of sexual abuse between 1955 and 2009. He may have been one of Britain’s most prolific pedophilic sex offenders.
Earlier this month, Armstrong drew attention after uploading a similar video in which Beverley Mitchell, an actress from the 90s TV soap 7th Heaven, gave a shout-out to Ivan Milat, Australia’s most notorious serial killer.
“Hey Ivan! Not many people pick up hitchhikers anymore, but you really helped out the backpacker gang and you belong in seventh heaven, so thank you,” Mitchell says. “We need more people in the world like you. So Ivan… Milat—I hope I’m saying that right—I’m sending you lots of love and thank you again for being such a big fan, and for just being awesome and being you.”
Milat, known colloquially as the Backpacker Killer, gained infamy in the early 90s for picking up hitchhikers in New South Wales before imprisoning, robbing, and then subsequently murdering them. Between 1989 and 1993 he killed at least seven international tourists—two men and five women—and dumped their bodies in the Belanglo State Forest. He was charged with murder in 1994, and later received seven life sentences—one for each victim. He died in prison last year.
The pranks have divided opinion online, with some social media users applauding the dark humour, while others deemed it disturbing and distasteful.