During a week in which scientists warned of the dangers artificial intelligence poses to the future of mankind, a young man from London demonstrated why it is humans we should be most worried about.
‘I’m the face of the internet right now,’ declared a grinning Bacari-Bronze O’Garro, who is known online by the nickname Mizzy.
While undoubtedly something of an exaggeration, it’s fair to say the 18-year-old’s antics have gained him the sort of notoriety on social media that passes for fame nowadays.
But even amid the crowded field of plump-lipped poseurs and poundshop playboys who spend their days showing off on TikTok and Instagram, O’Garro stands out.
Because his brand is built on one thing and one thing only — stupidity.
Bacari-Bronze O’Garro at Thames Magistrates’ Court where he was charged with failing to comply with a community protection notice after a TikTok ‘prank’ video showed people entering a private home without permission
Mizzy’s mother Donna O’Garro has said her prankster son Mizzy ‘needs to get a job’
Or as Piers Morgan put it when he interviewed him about his antics: ‘You are just a complete moron . . . you are Mizzy the Moron’.
While some will argue that the best way to deal with O’Garro is to ignore him, the reality is that his fame serves to demonstrate the destructive powers of social media, a place where content is judged solely on the number of likes and followers that it garners.
Or to put it in O’Garro’s words: ‘Hate brings money, hate brings likes, hate brings views. It doesn’t matter, love or hate, it still brings views. It is just easier to do the hateful stuff.’
The ‘stuff’ he refers to are what he calls pranks. And like all pranks, his involve unsuspecting third parties. But it is the relative vulnerability of those whom he targets that makes his activities so deeply unpleasant.
He filmed himself ‘stealing’ a dog from a pensioner in the park and running off with it before eventually returning the pet to the visibly distressed woman.
Other footage showed him attempting to leapfrog an unsuspecting orthodox Jewish man, putting his hands on his shoulders from behind and pushing him into the road as he did so. Then there were the times he ran into a library and started ripping up books, knocked people off their bikes, asked women if they ‘want to die’ or climbed into the back of a stranger’s car, pretending he thought that it was an Uber.
As his social media followers grew into the tens of thousands and his ‘views’ ran into the millions, so the pranks became more extreme until, last week, a video of him and a sidekick brazenly walking into a stranger’s North London home went viral.
The young man, known as ‘Mizzy’ online, appeared on Newsnight on Thursday evening
Banned TikTok ‘prankster’ Mizzy messes with train’s controls in another video posted on the social media platform
In the video, O’Garro could be seen sauntering past a young mum in her front garden and in through the open front door.
As the woman, who later told police she thought she was being burgled, called for her husband, O’Garro barged into the sitting room and sat on the sofa.
And the whole incident — including the couple’s children calling out for their ‘daddy’ — was filmed and put on TikTok.
The ensuing furore prompted police to act, arresting the teenager and bringing him to court. There O’Garro admitted breaking the terms of a ‘good behaviour’ order imposed the previous year.
He was told off, fined £200 and sent on his way. Inevitably, within a matter of hours he was back on social media and allegedly breaching the new order. It led to his re-arrest and temporary incarceration over the Bank Holiday weekend. He has since been released on bail.
Not that his latest punishment has done anything to dent his profile. Incredibly, on Thursday, he was given a prime-time platform to address the nation courtesy of the BBC’s flagship current affairs programme Newsnight, where he boasted to seasoned presenter Kirsty Wark that he did not need to do pranks any more because he was ‘established’.
Quite what the BBC was thinking giving valuable airtime to the TikTok tearaway is anyone’s guess. (One can imagine what the reaction might have been had it been suggested when Jeremy Paxman was the presenter.)
Criticising the broadcaster on Twitter, Conservative Party member Chris Rose said: ‘Why is Mizzy on Newsnight? We should not reward or incentivise his illegal, anti-social behaviour. Idiotic decision by the BBC.’
Mizzy has denied three breaches of his Criminal Behaviour Order
The BBC is faced criticism for its Newsnight interview with TikTok tearaway Mizzy (pictured)
Even the teenager’s mother, Donna, seems to agree.
‘I’ve had enough,’ she said, speaking publicly for the first time to the Mail yesterday.
‘Even if he goes to the shop, he does his stupid little pranks. I don’t like what he’s doing — I’m not supporting him. He needs to find a job and sort himself out. That’s what he needs to do.
‘He’s a very clued up kid — he’s very clued up. Bacari was very good at school. He has an education.’
He’s certainly resourceful. Banned from YouTube, Instagram andTikTok, O’Garro announced plans to set up on another live streaming service where he can better monetise his content.
Worryingly, he has also revealed that he is now taking advice from the infamous brothers Andrew and Tristan Tate.
‘The Tates have been helping me immensely, teaching me to actually take people’s feelings in and hold more accountability for my actions as I develop into a man,’ he said.
The Tates, it should be noted, are currently under house arrest in Romania on suspicion of being involved in organised crime and human trafficking.
Andrew Tate was previously banned from various social media platforms for expressing misogynistic views and hate speech.
In other words, they are hardly the sort of role models of which O’Garro is clearly so desperately in need.
Born in Hackney, home is a top-floor flat in a shabby house owned by the Peabody Trust on a wide, leafy road in Stoke Newington, North London. Mizzy lives there with his 51-year-old mother Donna and has an older sister, Tia, who is believed to reside elsewhere. His father is not named on his birth certificate and was absent for his upbringing, which has been described as ‘extremely difficult’.
Despite the fact that other teenagers of his age are currently sitting their A-levels, O’Garro is no longer in education. By the time he sat his GCSEs he was in a pupil referral unit called The Boxing Academy, having been kicked out of five schools.
The Academy combines academic studies with boxing for difficult students who need an alternative to mainstream education.
‘Still passed all of them,’ O’Garro has said of the six subjects he sat. ‘I coulda done way better, but GCSEs don’t define who you are. I am an intellect in my own way.’
Indeed, such is his intellect that he doesn’t have a job and instead receives benefits in the form of Universal Credit.
Despite his young age, O’Garro is also the father of a young boy, who appears to be less than a year old. Earlier this week, he filmed himself pushing the child in a pram while roller-skating along behind.
His questionable parenting skills aside, at least such content does not impact the wider community — as so much of his behaviour has done.
Neighbours told how his activities have caused them ‘hell’, accusing him and his cronies of a ‘campaign of terror,’ leaving many of them too afraid to leave their homes.
‘I’ve known Bacari all his life and since he got into TikTok he’s been nothing but trouble,’ said one, who declined to give her full name.
‘There are lots of people around here who’ve been harassed by him in his videos. He’s burst into people’s homes, stolen their shopping or knocked them off their bikes.
‘The police are always going to his house, but so far they’ve not been able to stop him. The boy is a nightmare. This is a lovely area, but he ruins it for many of us. He needs to be kept away for our safety.’
Another neighbour called Francis said: ‘Bacari is a TikTok terror and a waste of space. Lots of people are too afraid to go out, and when they do, they’re looking over their shoulders for Bacari and his mates.
‘No one has got a good word to say about him. We’re sick and tired of his stupid behaviour and these videos he makes.’
Many locals said they were too scared to confront O’Garro, with one claiming he had caused more than £1,000-worth of damage to his car last year. The teenager was charged with criminal damage, but proceedings were halted in March.
‘The case was dropped because I withdrew my statement when the Crown Prosecution Service said I need to attend court to give evidence,’ the man said. ‘I refused because he lives in the same block as me, and the safety of my family is more important than money.’
Stoke Newington is home to a large orthodox Jewish community, many of whom have been targeted by O’Garro in his social media videos. As well as the ‘leapfrog’ stunt, a second video showed him cycling while wearing a traditional wide-brimmed hoiche hat and saying: ‘Guys I’m a f*****g Jew.’
He also posted a clip called ‘Who leaves their door open like that?’ in which he entered the house of a Jewish family. A man wearing a prayer shawl and two children could be seen as he wandered down the hallway to the kitchen, before running out.
O’Garro later claimed he had been arrested for a racially aggravated assault, which police confirmed related to a member of the Jewish community. But it is understood the matter did not proceed, with O’Garro saying: ‘I don’t discriminate . . . a lot of videos are just in my area f*****g around with Jewish people, black people, white people.’ And so O’Garro continued to up the ante.
In April he posted a video in which he was seen entering the driver’s cab of a train. He was subsequently arrested and charged with endangering the safety of passengers by interfering with the train’s controls and safety equipment. He pleaded not guilty and chose for the case to go for a summary trial at magistrates court.
Then, on May 15, he entered yet another house, this time the£2 million family home of a banker and an interior designer in Dalston, East London.
A week after the video went viral and amid growing outrage about his behaviour, O’Garro was arrested, appearing in court on May 24.
Magistrates were told that his actions had breached a community protection order that had been imposed a year earlier. He admitted breaching the order by trespassing on private property.
In mitigation, Lee Sergent said O’Garro had apologised to the family and claimed that despite his ‘extremely difficult childhood’ he was ‘an intelligent young man . . . with some potential.’
He was duly issued with a two-year criminal behaviour order that banned him from posting videos to social media without the consent of those featured; from trespassing on private property and from attending Westfield shopping centre in Stratford, East London.
He was also fined £200, with another £135 in additional costs.
Later that same day he appeared on a TV talk show hosted by Piers Morgan, in which he revealed he had apologised to the owners of the house he had invaded.
But he also bragged that ‘UK laws are weak’ and said the public outcry ‘just makes me laugh’.
Asked what motivated him to terrorise the people in his local community, O’Garro replied: ‘I wouldn’t really call it terrorising, I’ll just call it more having fun.’
When asked about his upbringing, he accused Morgan of racism.
‘Are you trying to get on to me because I am black?’ O’Garro asked the broadcaster.
Morgan replied: ‘I don’t give a damn about your skin colour . . . I just think you are an idiot.’
Pushed further, O’Garro revealed that his mother was no longer speaking to him because of his behaviour, but that he was ‘legally an adult now, so I can do whatI want’.
Over the following 48 hours it was claimed that O’Garro breached the new order three times, posting two videos without the consent of those filmed and of visiting the Westfield centre.
Arrested, he appeared back in court last Saturday where he denied the breaches, with a magistrates court trial set for July. He was remanded in custody at HMP Thameside over the bank holiday weekend. On Tuesday, he posted more video online of him nodding and grinning as celebrated his release on bail from prison.
That was followed by a lengthy statement posted on Twitter in which he said he had created Mizzy as a social media persona with the idea of ‘being the biggest menace in the UK’.
He said that he now realised it ‘may not of (sic) been the best choice and I wish I coulda went about it in a different way’, adding: ‘But the past is the past and what I do from now on will define me as a person and really build the legacy of Bacari.’
Fine words. But erasing the memories of Mizzy The Moron from those unfortunate enough to have crossed paths with him will not be so easy — not least when he is given a platform on Newsnight by the BBC.