On Monday, police in New Jersey broke up a massive crowd of partygoers who descended upon the infamous Jersey Shore house to catch a glimpse of YouTube pranksters the “Nelk Boys”.
The Gen Z-friendly YouTube stars — who boast over 5.7 million followers on the platform — sparked the huge mob of hundreds of people after posting videos of their location on Instagram. The footage shows them popping champagne bottles outside the recognizable Seaside Heights home where MTV's hit reality show Jersey Shore was filmed. The Nelk Boys were reportedly using the home to celebrate the launch of a new line of apparel and merchandise.
In one video, the home's owner, Daniel Merk, is seen in the background and heard telling his renters that he was kicking them out and the party had to end. The same video showed a large, tightly packed group of people waiting outside the home and being held back by police.
By that time, fans had shown up en masse, and the gathering of mostly maskless people grew larger as the night went on. Eventually, police from neighbouring towns were called in to maintain order. Authorities said the crowd remained mostly under control, but added that the party did violate state health codes. Outdoor gatherings in New Jersey must be limited to 500 people, who are socially distanced, under the state's coronavirus guidelines. The Nelk Boys may have attracted more than 1,000 partygoers.
Seaside Heights Mayor Anthony Vaz told NBC News that he would not tolerate another blow to the town's reputation, which was already tarnished by Jersey Shore.
"We will not tolerate this or these kinds of things that will disrupt an image we're trying to correct," Mr Vaz said. "It was shocking to me."
This isn't the first time the Nelk Boys have faced backlash for their antics. Last week, YouTube temporarily de-monetised them after they allegedly threw on-campus parties at Illinois State University, creating a "widespread public health risk," BuzzFeed reported. The group previously pulled a stunt in which they protested Covid-19 restrictions in Los Angeles, leading a crowd in an "open the gyms" chant.