Early this morning, the Happiest Place on Earth underwent an ugly — though brief — rebrand. A self-described “super hacker” seized control of Disneyland’s official Instagram and Facebook accounts, then posted a string of racist and homophobic comments, as well as jokes about developing a new strain of the coronavirus. They identified themselves as David Do and claimed to be exacting revenge on Disney employees who had mocked his “small penis.”
That obvious trolling was accompanied by photos of a young man who is named David Do.
Outlets including the New York Post and the Daily Mail have taken those posts at face value — as a brazen self-doxxing — informing their readers that Do was indeed the hacker. A more plausible explanation would be that someone wanted to embarrass Do by leaving his face and readily available information all over the Disneyland pages. The picture above is Do’s profile image from his YouTube channel, where he has shared a number of innocuous videos of himself playing Fortnite and other video games. He hosts similar content on a Twitch account. As the hacker tagged Do’s Instagram page — he mainly goes by the handle @chi11estpanda on social media — pictures were likely lifted from there too, though it’s now set to private.
In the comments of his most recent YouTube upload, from July of 2021, Do replied to users who turned up asking about (or congratulating him for) the Disneyland stunt, saying it was a setup by others who “think i have some stupid laptop.” The hate speech in the unauthorized posts is strongly at odds with Do’s positive personal brand: His Twitch page refers to “[s]haring my world with the world to spread laughter, share joy,” while the YouTube channel’s “About” section appears to refer to past struggles with depression and contains statements such as: “I at least know making people laugh and brightening people’s day is what I enjoy doing most.”
Taken as anti-Asian smears against Do, the “small penis” caption and references to bioengineering COVID-19 are of a piece with the overall racism expressed by whoever took control of the Disneyland pages. Jason Wong, a wunderkind entrepreneur who immigrated to the U.S. from Hong Kong as a boy, was tagged by the hacker(s) in a comment under one of the offensive Instagram posts that used Do’s likeness, which led some to believe that he, too, was involved. In a Story, Wong voiced his confusion, noting that he has never worked for Disney.
What anyone hoped to gain by implicating Do (who by all indications is a mild-mannered graphic designer and creative consultant) or the better-known Wong in their vandalizing of a wholesome family brand is yet unclear, though such a frame job — despite shoddy reporting that ignored this likelihood — makes far more sense than a hacker outing themselves to announce that they’re, uh, modestly endowed.
Too bad digital literacy hasn’t caught up with the dumbest hoaxes.