A video purportedly showing the aftermath of a school prank in which a student spiked a batch of lemonade with laxatives was uploaded to the web site LiveLeak in mid-September 2018. This footage racked up millions of views when it was shared on Facebook along with the caption: “So Wrong: A student puts laxative in the school’s lemonade”:
This video does not capture real students at a high school suffering bouts of diarrhea after a student spiked their lemonade with laxatives. This footage was taken from the Netflix mockumentary television series American Vandal and depicts a staged incident involving a group of actors.
American Vandal plays like a true crime documentary, but instead of focusing on villainous acts such as murder, the mockumentary takes place in a high school and features juvenile pranks and acts of vandalism. The second season of the show, which made its debut just a few days before this video went viral, opened with an episode entitled “Brown Out.” The New Yorker described the opening sequence of that episode thusly:
I got a queasy feeling watching the opening sequence of the new season of “American Vandal,” and not only because it showed a lunchroom full of teenagers soiling themselves. The scene is certainly disgusting: in an event known afterward as “the Brownout,” students at the fictional St. Bernardine prep school in tony Bellevue, Washington, having been poisoned by laxative-tainted lemonade, suffer together in a grisly act of mass defecation, all of it memorialized in real time and shared on social media.
Some of the footage from this viral hoax video can also be glimpsed in a trailer for the second season of the show:
Crouch, Ian. “‘American Vandal’ Season 2 Goes from Poop Jokes to Adolescent Dystopia.”
The New Yorker. 14 September 2018.