Burning Man Scene: A Stunt That Went Too Far | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Burning Man Scene: A Stunt That Went Too Far

burning man
Posted: Aug 10, 2016 at 3:03 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

Hazeez Balogun

Lagos – In 1938, Columbia Broadcasting System Radio Network in America broadcast a radio adaptation of the popular science fiction novel by H.G. Wells, War of the Worlds. It became famous for causing mass panic.

The first two-thirds of the one-hour broadcast was presented as a series of simulated news bulletin, which suggested an actual alien invasion by Martians. The illusion of realism was further heightened since there were no commercial interruptions, and the first break in the program came almost thirty minutes into the broadcast.

Though the show was introduced as a work of fiction at the beginning, many who tuned in at the middle of the broadcast all believed it was real. They believed there was a real invasion of the US by aliens.

In the days following the broadcast, there was widespread outrage in the media. The programme’s news bulletin format was described as deceptive by some newspapers and public figures, leading to an outcry against the perpetrators of the broadcast and calls for regulation by the Federal Communications. That very act led to legislation on tighter control on what could be broadcast, which is still enforced today in America.

Two weeks ago , something similar happened in Nigeria and the public is yet to get over the level of deceit. A video appeared online showing an actor narrowly escaping death when fire was set on him. The video also showed the director Stanley Ohikhuare popularly known as Stanlee, continuing the shoot even as the actor burnt.

It also showed a man trying to use fire extinguisher on the burning man but this also failed as the extinguisher did not work. The message under the video said that Ani was able to get the fire off his body and was quickly rushed to the hospital, with his colleagues running around to raise money for him. A picture also emerged of Ani looking badly burnt on a hospital bed.

The video instantly evoked an outrage as people who were disgusted by the sight of the burning man wanted an explanation. Independent Saturday tried to call the director, Stanlee Ohikhuare but his phone was switched off.

When we finally reached the actor, Ani Iyoho, he delivered a shocking revelation. He claimed that he was well and unharmed over the phone. According to him, the scene wasn’t a publicity stunt but a movie scene that went very well.

Iyoho says, “For most of you who have ever commented or sent a chat to me you know I do all I can to respond to them all. So it hurts me deeply to keep you in silence and in the dark during this period. I couldn’t avoid it. The calls were maddening. My phone had to be turned off till the matter was resolved in public where it started.”

He also said that he kept quiet after the video went viral because anything he says as an individual may be misinterpreted further worsening the situation.

“I’m truly sorry beyond words for the emotional stress and inconvenience this might have caused you. It wasn’t a publicity stunt for me as some might still want to have you believe. It was a huge misunderstanding, misrepresentation and misinterpretation of events of that day and it took a toll on me in ways I cannot explain. I am however extremely humbled at the love, care and support I got from you during this period. Words fail me. I am indebted to you. Thanks for being there for me and my family. God bless you and yours. Amen.”

The director, Stanlee Ohikhuare on his own part accepted that it was a stunt and it has done what he intended it to do.

Explaining why he did it, Stanlee says he believes the stunt would cause a remarkable change in the attitude and perception of fellow Nigerians and the world at large, towards Nollywood’s potentials. He stated that he did it to “create film awareness and industry patronage via media engagement; utilising the ever evolving social media platform to gain reach and peculiar attention to an entire industry.”

He also added that Government intervention is needed to ensure that there’s adequate funding to curb ugly occurrences like the one insinuated in the circulated video.

Well, the public is not buying the excuse. Many continue to use harsh words on him online. The ‘prank’ video has affected a lot of people psychologically. After the video,  many people started mobilising to see how they could support the actor, just to find out it was fake.

Stanley (Stanlee) Aideloje Ohikhuare hails from Ivbiodohen – Okpuje in Owan West Local government Area of Edo State. He is a graduate of the University of Benin from where he obtained a bachelors degree in Fine Arts in painting. He also has a National Diploma in General Arts from Abia College of Technology Lagos. He had shot Loop, Sting, Deadwood, Verdict, and Kpians before this work.

Many industry watchers have heavily criticised the stunt describing it as “childish” and “irresponsible”. The stunt may gain him some audience for the film, but his work is what people will judge him by and not fake online pranks.

A musician, Skibii, last year did something similar. He tried to gain listenership for his new singles by claiming he is dying in the hospital and posting pictures of himself on the sick bed online. The stunt back fired.

“Stanlee has cried wolf, and no one will believe him next time. He should look at where Skibii’s career is today,” said a fellow movie director.