A video of a child receiving a copy of Hitler's Mein Kampf instead of the video game Minecraft for Christmas was a staged joke — and then went viral when it was shared without context or credit, according to its creator.
Comedian Yann Stotz told the French newspaper 20 Minutes on Friday that he made the clip to poke fun of the similarity in sound between the video game title and the Nazi manifesto.
"Three years ago, we gave my godson a copy of Minecraft, and I thought, 'That's funny, it sounds like Mein Kampf," Stotz said. "So this year, I printed a copy of Mein Kampf's cover and stuck it on a Jules Verne book and shot the video."
The video shows a young boy opening a present from his grandfather at a family Christmas gathering while Stotz is filming. The boy removes the wrapping paper to reveal what appears to be a copy of Mein Kampf — although if you look closely, you can see that it's actually a picture of the book's cover that's been taped to another book.
"It was Minecraft that he wanted," Stotz tells the older man. "But he told me Mein Kampf!" his father replies. "No, Dad, he said Minecraft." Still filming, he takes the book and explains that Minecraft is a video game for children, before leaving the room grumbling under his breath, presumably to throw the book away.
It was originally shared on Stotz's Instagram story on Tuesday. On Wednesday, he realized that one of his followers had reposted the video on Snapchat without credit. Stotz then uploaded the clip on Instagram and his official Facebook page as a separate post.
Later that day, the video was shared on Twitter without crediting him and posted as if the staged event had actually happened. The clip went viral, mostly in France and Spain, and was written up by various outlets as if it were true. As of Friday, this reposted clip has been viewed more than 1 million times.
On Friday morning, Stotz's video was shared again on Twitter without credit, this time with an English caption. As of publication, this version of the clip has been viewed more than 100,000 times.
In the interview with 20 Minutes, Stotz said that he didn't create the video with the intention to deceive anyone and emphasized that if it had been shared with credit, viewers would have seen that he's a professional comedian and known that it was staged.
He joked that if he had purposefully set out to make a fake video to go viral, he would've included an ad for his comedy show in the clip.
Stotz shared the interview on his official Facebook page Friday with a promise to reupload the video, since the first one had been removed from the platform for "inciting hate."
"Of course [the video] was mine," he said. "And of course it was bullshit, a gag, a staged clip."
BuzzFeed News has reached out to Stotz for comment.