He’s raunchy, he’s shameless, and he’s big on the Internet. Yousef Saleh Erakat is like a lot of YouTube instastars, except for one minor distinction: he’s also Palestinian.
The 24-year-old California resident, who is the youngest of four siblings born to Palestinian parents, has a whopping 2 million subscribers and more than 16 million views on fouseyTUBE, his irreverent, caps lock-heavy YouTube channel in which he chronicles a series of totally obnoxious, borderline offensive pranks against unsuspecting strangers.
This is lowbrow humor, with nary a whiff of pragmatism. But like so many digital sensations, the crowd loves him, especially when he wears yoga pants like a girl, fakes an embarrassing wedding proposal in public, or sidles up to a stranger and starts eating his food.
Obnoxious overtones aside, however, Erakat does also occasionally dabble in his own version of political theater. In one video, “Ramadan Drive Through,” he makes fun both of Muslims and those who misunderstand them ordering up all types of Muslim stereotypes, including Halal chicken sandwiches and falafel fries, from a series of drive-thru joints. And in “The Terrorist Hijabi Experiment,” he publicly accuses a hijab-wearing woman (played by his female friend) of being a terrorist simply to see how many passersby step up in her defense.
“What we found out through the duration of this video was truly heartbreaking. It really hurt to be part of this experiment,” he says in a rare straight-faced intro to that video. “I was ashamed… this one speaks for itself.”