ODU Gets “Shmacked!”
By: Ashley Smith, Ethan Shaw and Dominique Munsie
On January 17, a camera crew from “I’m Shmacked” arrived at Old Dominion University promising a large party. I’m Shmacked is making a series of documentaries showing drunk students at colleges across the United States. “Shmacked,” for the uninformed, is slang for a person who is so drunk or high that they can’t function.
When the camera crew arrived, they set up on 42nd street in a residential area adjacent to campus. By night’s end students rioted, vandalized property and smashed the windshields in a Jeep parked on the street, and cameraman Ben Fredette ended up behind bars, charged with multiple attempts to start a riot. After spending four nights in jail, he was released on a $5,000 bond. The presiding Judge S. Clark Daugherty told Fredette that he had to remain at his personal apartment in Pittsburgh or at his mother’s house in New Jersey while awaiting his March 6 hearing. He was also ordered to not work for I’m Shmacked. His trial is set for April 29.
“I was there around 10-12pm that night, and I did witness a riot. It was a very wild one. People were running everywhere and screaming, and tons of people were standing on the jeep and trying to flip it over,” recalled Jay Jalloh, an ODU freshman. “There were about 200 people on the street, and the only employee of I’m Shmacked that I knew of was the cameraman,” said Allishia Sewell, another freshman. “I couldn’t actually see the crowd beating the car up, but I could hear it. Wherever the camera was, everyone was so crowded towards it and trying to get on camera.”
Police responded to numerous complaints that evening. “Norfolk and ODU police worked together to disperse the crowds during the I’m Shmacked incident. It was a nightmare. The phone was ringing non-stop,” said Lt. Keitha Boone from ODU police. She also commented that there is still an ongoing investigation, “but we reviewed several videos of the riots to look for illegal activity.”
I’m Shmacked was founded by Arya Toufanian and Jeffrie Ray in 2011. At that time Ray was a 19-year-old student at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan. Arya was 20, and a junior at George Washington University. After the success of their first video of Temple University students running wild at a hip hop concert in Philadelphia, both men decided to leave college and start a business. By 2012, they had over 23 videos of numerous campuses such as Syracuse, N.Y.U. and Penn State. Soon, the arrival of the dark colored I’m Shmacked bus on campuses symbolized a raucous weekend ahead for that area. All of their films post a disclaimer that says “no alcohol or illegal substances were used, only props.”
Their popularity and wealth skyrocketed. Their website, http://www.imshmacked.com, cites over 16.5 million views on Facebook (and more than 96,000 friends), Twitter (87,000+ members), Instagram (67,000+ members) and YouTube (with over 58,000+ subscribers). Their popularity or “notoriety” has received nationwide attention from esteemed publications and media outlets such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, Huffington Post, Gawker, BBC World, USA Today, and ABC Nightline and was also dubbed the 2012 College Word of the Year. All stories about them focus on the trail of damage and violence that they leave behind after visiting colleges throughout the United States.