When dozens of people showed up recently at the “Ice Poseidon Homeless Shelter” in LA looking for a meal and a bed for the night, they instead found a place that didn’t quite match the pictures online.
Internet trolls pranking the famous YouTuber “Ice Poseidon” had listed the address of his mansion, in the ritzy Tarzana neighborhood, as the site of a homeless shelter, complete with fake images and even dozens of fake reviews that made it look like a real, running operation.
The wealthy, 24-year-old YouTuber (real name: Paul Denino) told the Los Angeles Daily News the pranksters were some of his loyal followers — 700,000 subscribers tune in to his “life-streaming” videos where he’s climbing Mount Fuji or talking about his latest breakup. And while Denino found the whole thing amusing, the homeless people were turned away, and some were even confronted by law enforcement, according to the Guardian. The neighbors didn’t appreciate it, either, when some of those looking for refuge camped out on the sidewalk.
Google finally stepped in and erased the pages on Tuesday, according to spokesman Paul Pennington in an email to the Guardian. “We’re in a constant race with these scammers who, unfortunately, use all sorts of tricks to try to game our system,” he said.
It’s not the first time trolls have gone to extremes to prank Denino. He’s been subjected to “swatting”, where a SWAT team stormed his house after receiving fake reports from trolls that Denino was holding people hostage inside.
And it’s not the first time he's been associated with homelessness in a negative way. “Ice Poseidon" jokingly recognized those without shelter in an October 2018 video called “Homeless Stalker Attempts to Attack Me In My Hotel”, which has 1.1 million views.
Los Angeles, which has underestimated its homeless population for years, saw a 23 percent increase from 2017 to 2018.
Cover: This Monday, July 1, 2019 photo shows Los Angeles City Hall behind a homeless tent encampment along a street in downtown Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)