On Monday the nation mourned Canadian vagrant robot hitchBOT after it met an untimely demise on the mean streets of Philadelphia over the weekend. And after the mourning passed, angry robophiles demanded justice.
A vlogger named Jesse Wellens posted a video to Snapchat that he claimed was surveillance footage of a man in an Eagles jersey kicking the machine into non-functionality. This is probably exactly what most people imagined when they heard a robot was destroyed in Philadelphia.
But much like a Geno's Cheesesteak, the much-popularized video may not be all its cracked up to be.
Philadelphia sports blog Crossing Broad did a little walking tour of Philly's Old City neighborhood and found a spot identical to the one in Wellens' video. No surveillance cameras could be seen that could capture the angle of his video, or any angle, for that matter. Assuming the location is accurate, Google Street View seems to confirm that analysis.
There's also the fact that one of Wellens' YouTube channels is a show called PrankvsPrank, and that this could be a semi-elaborate publicity stunt for his videos. If this was a prank, though, I don't know what the goal was. To see how easily people will assume the worst about Eagles fans? To dupe news website? They've got more to answer for than destroying a hitchhiking robot.
Fake video or not, the dismembered photo and dead battery means hitchBOT is probably still, in fact, dead. So this weekend, pour out a can of oil for a robot whose only crime was that it wanted to see the world.