Second-year business management student Lawrence Kemp became an overnight hero of the student community after a video of him submitting an essay from a night out went viral. But the assignment isn’t all it appears to be
All students must surely dream of a world in which it’s possible to hit that important coursework deadline without missing a beat at the university club night.
Perhaps that’s why a recent video – appearing to capture 21-year-old Gloucestershire student Lawrence Kemp submitting a piece of coursework from MooMoo’s in Cheltenham – went viral, earning him around half a million virtual slaps on the back.
Unfortunately, The Independent can reveal, the video was all a set-up – and one that was lapped up by the British media.
While Mr Kemp is a real student, currently in his second year of studying business management at the university, he is also an actor who agreed to help out with his friend’s film project.
Danny Cotter, the second-year Film Production student behind the hoax, explained: “It was for one of our modules called ‘shortform’, in which we were told to make a video and try and get it to go viral.
“We were given a lot of freedom with the brief, so we wanted to make something that was relevant and topical.
“It’s the end of our student year so everyone’s under pressure with work and exams – we thought why not play on that and try and get the video on a platform like LadBible?”
The fake Snapchat video shows Mr Kemp writing a 2,000-word essay surrounded by friends going heavy on the drinks before a group night out.
At first he appears to be annoyed at his friends, asking for space to do his work – but later scenes show the diligent student plugging away on his laptop with a drink in hand, before hitting “send” to a background of thumping club music and strobe-lit revellers.
The concept was a hit, and within hours websites including LadBible and The Tab were hailing Mr Kemp as a “true inspiration” to the student community.
Soon local and national news agencies including the Press Association began to catch wind of the story, and Mr Cotter said he was surprised at how quickly the “fake news” had spread.
In follow-up interviews, Mr Kemp told the local and student press he’d been given a first for the paper he’d so casually submitted one minute before the midnight deadline.
“We never contacted any news agencies about it,” he told The Independent, “they contacted us. Nobody even checked the facts of the story, they just accepted what I told them over Facebook messages.”
In a statement, the University of Gloucestershire said there was never any intention to mislead the public.
A spokesperson said: “As soon as the university became aware that a creative assignment had become the subject of a news story, we contacted media outlets to ensure they understood that this was not a genuine event.
“We certainly don’t condone misleading the media but we would point out that a simple phone call to the university would have cleared this matter up immediately.”
“As much as we were proud of the positive reaction to the video, I personally do feel a bit guilty,” said Mr Cotter.
Having kept a lower profile handing in the last of his own second-year assignments, the aspiring film director said he was available for commissions.Reuse content