YouTuber My Mate Nate’s Viral Video Involving Cops Draws Controversy in Thailand

50 Cops Hunt Me Down: My Mate Nate's Video Draws Controversy in Thailand
A screenshot from My Mate Nate's latest viral video featuring Nate and his teammates, and 50 police officers behind them

Popular American Youtuber My Mate Nate’s latest video “50 Cops Hunt Me Down” sparked controversy among Thai netizens on social media with many deeming the video as inappropriate for involving police officers.

The video was posted on Sunday and has since drawn controversial feedback all over Thai social media.

Nathan “Nate” Bartling, the creator of the YouTube channel which has 13.3 million subscribers, apparently challenged 50 police officers, whom he hired to appear in the video, to a game of hide-and-seek at an abandoned shopping center in Kanchanaburi province, Thailand.

Nate explained in the video that the police had one hour to search all of his seven team members who were hiding in the building, while each member of the team had 20 minutes to find a spot to hide.

The video has received more than 2.5 million views since it was uploaded three days ago, as well as mixed reactions from the viewers.

A majority of them remarked on how fitting it was for police officers to participate in a video shoot while neglecting their job to serve the public. Some even questioned if the policemen in the video were actual cops or merely paid actors dressed in police uniforms.

“Even if they are legitimate cops, what they did in this video is inappropriate. The unauthorized use of police uniforms might result in significant legal penalties. I’ve also heard that they did not seek authorization to film in the location. You’d better save some money for the charges, Nate,” one viewer commented.

“I’m not trying to be pessimistic here, but why don’t they go help the people in need instead of playing a silly game?” If these are phony cops, they should be aware of the consequences,” added another person in the comments section of the video.

CH7 News’s report said that one of the police officers featured in the video has reportedly revealed that he was merely an actor hired for a job. He also said that most of the officers in Nate’s video were paid actors who received a wage of around THB 1000-1,300 to participate in the video while alleging that around 2-3 officers were actual cops.

Regarding the authorization to wear police uniforms, the actor said that, typically, when he is asked to play a police officer, his employer handles the permission request to wear the uniforms. However, the actor stated that he had no clue if the My Mate Nate crew had done so.

According to Sanook, wearing a police uniform without proper authorization is a criminal offense under Section 146 of the Criminal Code.

The National Police Act 2022, Section 152 mandates that only police officers have the right to wear a police uniform or the police officer’s insignia. Those who do not possess the right to wear the uniform could be subject to imprisonment from three months to one year and face charges of up to THB 2,000.

Pairoj Kumphai, the commanding officer of the Kanchanaburi police station, said that his team had investigated the matter and found no evidence that any officers from the province had participated in the video. He added that the relevant departments were working together to identify the people shown in the video.

Despite the negative comments, the viral video received some favorable feedback, with some people noting that the hide-and-seek game provides valuable training for officers and could be used in a real operation.

“I’d heard a lot about the video and decided to check it out, and I liked it! It shows how the police work in a situation where they have to find criminals,” one viewer commented.

“I expected this video to be a drama magnet, but it’s still entertaining to watch. We got a peek of how the officers operate together,” another user asserted.

Before becoming a popular YouTuber, Nathan Bartling worked as an English instructor in Laos for two years. During his stay in Laos, he started uploading prank videos to his YouTube page, which helped him achieve notoriety. He subsequently relocated to Bangkok in 2015 to continue his YouTuber career and began filming even more such videos, which were the first of their sort in Thailand.