Meet the American Missionary Turned Thai Prankster
byPranking has been a huge part of the online video world since its inception. Slapstick humor will always be endearing, but in the age of internet celebrities, pranking, sometimes deemed “social experiments”, has become a point of much controversy recently. A lot of these videos claiming to be pranks are downright mean (read: stupid), blurring the line between what is and isn’t socially acceptable. Take the infamous Sam Pepper whose videos, which often border on assault, came to mainstream attention with his video of grabbing women’s asses.
Luckily, the prank territory isn’t completely ruined online. My Mate Nate is bringing the innocence back to the mischief, showcasing the fun in pranking instead of the cheap shock value. AKA he’s not a jerk. He’s an American ex-Missionary who now calls Thailand home. And instead of being yet another millennial clichely traveling to the beaches of Thailand for a 2 week bender – I mean to find themselves – Nate Bartling really is your mate and overall good guy.
At just 19 Nate Bartling became a Missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but soon found his passions to lie in filmmaking, eventually evolving into his highly successful YouTube channel. “I was a missionary for two years. After that two year period ended I went back home to Utah and was planning to go to university like everyone else my age,” said Bartling. Fast forward to today, and Nate is a world traveling, multi-lingo pranker taking his unique style of videos to the international table.
And the people of Thailand are taking notice, embracing the expat and his videos. “The reason my videos go viral and big is because I’m something new that most of the Thai people aren’t familiar with. They want to know what foreigners think and feel about their country. Everyone LOVES to hear what other people think about themselves, so when I start rattling off in fluent Thai, the locals just got crazy… especially the younger generation who has grown up with the internet,” Bartling explained.
When you visit My Mate Nate’s channel, you really get the sense that Bartling’s motives are pure. Straight up, they’re fun, they’re happy, and have a thread of wholesomeness woven throughout. And it’s crazy to think that his virtuous reasons for creating content have become something to take note of online, but they have. He isn’t making videos to ‘go viral’ or to make $$$ from endless product placements and sponsorship deals. As Nate tells it, “I think one of the biggest factors about my channel that helps me keep the sense of “wholesomeness” is that I’m not doing YouTube for the money. I do it because I love making videos. Even if I weren’t getting paid, I would still be doing videos like this. I have other sources of income and I don’t rely on YouTube to get by.”
“This helps keep my channel more personal and more of how I want it, rather than just trying to make videos for the big viral hits. People making their living off youtube have to keep coming up with fresh ideas, and new things to keep getting new followers or else they won’t have an income, whereas I just do it for fun and enjoy creating things that inspire people, and make them laugh along the way.”
Nate’s altruistic motives behind his channel come through in each of his videos. Like Sam Pepper, Bartling, surprisingly, has a video about slapping girl’s butts. However, the video turns Pepper’s video on it’s head. Pinning the surprise on the men, and having the ladies be a part of the prank all along. He films the reaction of the unsuspecting bystanders and finds out what they would do if they were in the situation. Consent is key, even for clickbait.
On top of everything, Nate Bartling seems to really embrace and respect the people of Thailand. Pranking may be the core of his channel but by creating these moments of mischief Bartling is helping better the community. Being an expat in a foreign country is daunting at best, but Nate Barling has embraced the culture learning to speak fluent Thai. “Most Thai people love having a foreigner that can speak Thai, it just blows their mind that a white person is speaking their language” Bartling explained. His channel has evolved to not only showcase his epic pranks but also capture his perspective in Thailand, vlogging about his daily encounters and adventures. On top of it all Bartling has some impressive slow-motion videos that meld the prank mentality with the utterly mesmerizing effects of slow-mo.
His respect isn’t the only factor in the integrity of his videos. His religious beliefs and keeping his visa are two factors that Bartling considers when conceptualizing his videos. “I’m a foreigner living in a new country so I have to be careful and not cross the line or else I risk getting my visa denied and kicked out of the country that I’ve spent so long trying to build my life in. The other things that helps keep me “in line” and not going too far over the top is my personal religious beliefs” Bartling explained.
My Mate Nate is proof that you don’t have to be an boundary crossing asshat to get people online to notice you.
American YouTuber Criticized for Making Cats Fight ScorpionA controversial American YouTuber in the media late last year for an offensive video drew fresh ire this week for pitting his cats against a scorpion.
Nate Bartling, a 23-year-old former Mormon missionary who posts videos as “My Mate Nate,” posted a video of his cat fighting a scorpion Monday, to the ire of some netizens.
“You shouldn’t think that this is funny. The cat is hurting,” YouTube user Tham Tummai Krai Tham wrote in reply. “I feel sorry for it. If you really love your cat then why did you let it fight with a scorpion?”
In the video, Bartling’s cat is seen fighting a pet scorpion that got loose. Bartling said the scorpion was nonpoisonous. At various points in the clip, the scorpion hangs from the cat’s lip by its pincers to wacky sound effects and flame special effects. Bartling also says, “I love my cat,” in Thai.
His style of prank videos has landed him in hot water before.
In November, Bartling publicly apologized for a video where he “tested” people’s comprehension of English by posing embarrassing questions to them, such as asking if they were menstruating. In previous videos he also pranked 7-Eleven cashiers with 1,600 satang coins and tied his cat to a large number of helium balloons.
A petition is being signed, and cat people are pissed off. The Thai woman who runs “Kingdom of Tigers,” a world-famous cat Facebook page, will file a police report against American expat “My Mate Nate” on charges of animal cruelty for making his two cats fight scorpions for YouTube hits.
Pressure continued to mount on YouTube prankster and wannabe celebrity Nate Bartling yesterday as more than 120,000 people signed a petition to have him arrested. A police report has already been filed with Huay Kwang police over animal cruelty allegations after the US man’s videos of him organizing a fight between a cat and a…
My Mate Nate Has a Work Permit, and He’s Not Going AnywhereFor the first time, American expat YouTuber My Mate Nate responded Saturday to the online rage he received from both Thais and expats for filming his cats fighting a scorpion—the video for which he is under police investigation for animal cruelty.
In a 20-minute video, Nate Bartling, or My Mate Nate, does not apologize for the actions that made him an online object for hatred for the content of his influential YouTube channel. Instead, he questioned why this has to be such a big deal in his latest video titled: “Drama again… I’ll explain.”
“I made a mistake. It’s a small issue. Why does it have to be a big drama? If only we could spend our time doing something creative rather than ruining other people’s lives… some people contacted our sponsors, asking them to go against us. Is it that much of a big deal that a cat got its mouth clipped by a scorpion?” Bartling said in his latest Thai-language video.
This came after True, a telecommunications company that hired Bartling to promote their services, issued a statement that they have asked the expat to remove content sponsored by them.
A big deal or not, a petition demanding that Thai authorities charge the 23-year-old with animal cruelty also has received over 130,000 signatures since last week.
Meanwhile, Makkasan police told Coconuts today that they have taken over the investigation from Huai Khwang police, after celebrity cat lady Nutch Prasopsin, who runs the Facebook page “Kingdom of Tigers,” filed a complaint against the expat on Friday.
The police said that the case is under investigation, but no charges have yet been pressed against Bartling.
Responding to allowing his cats to fight a scorpion, Bartling said that he only wanted to “teach his cats a lesson,” like a good parent, adding he bought the scorpion from a food vendor on Khaosan Road and his cats were not harmed.
“I considered this parenting. If parents protect their child from everything, they won’t know when the danger comes. I know that this scorpion isn’t poisonous, so I thought it was an opportunity to teach my cats a lesson that they should not play with a scorpion… I had no intention to harm my cats,” he said.
As the drama escalated, Bartling also posted a status yesterday that some people are trying “ruin his life.”
“Having someone try to ruin my life, my career, my workmates, my family… is weird,” he wrote.
As the online community pointed at his immigration status, Bartling responded that he works for a company in Thailand, has a work permit, and pays taxes in both Thailand and the U.S.
Not only that, he said has done so many great things for Thailand.
“We teach people so much about science. We know we have many followers, both adults and children. We give them knowledge, not just entertainment. We help so many companies. I know that some of the companies do not have money, so we help them without receiving any money. My followers know that.”
Last of all, he’s not going anywhere:
“If I go home and escape the problem, how am I gonna set an example to my followers? I can’t escape. I have to be here and take responsibility for what I’ve done.”