CHIANG MAI, Thailand — The three members of the popular online show Huge In Asia (www.hugeinasia.com) were robbed of their camera and film equipment yesterday in central Chiang Mai, the trio claims. Local officials have not yet identified any of the culprits but say that an investigation is underway.
The three California natives – Kai Hasson, Nate Houghteling, and Alan Niles – self-proclaimed “celebrity vloggers” – were on location in Thailand’s northern city to document Songkram, a weeklong celebration of the Thai New Year, when they were accosted by a band of “hysterical hoodlums,” according to their account.
“We were in the middle of a great segment, when literally hundreds of men and women started accosting us,” Houghteling said. Niles and Hasson maintain a different account of the events, recalling at most three assailants, all male.
The three do agree that their attackers were Asian. “They were short and had black hair,” said Hasson from the back of an ambulance, “You put it together.”
As online shows increase in popularity, industry experts worry that major celebrity vloggers, like the members of Huge in Asia, may become targets. “Huge in Asia getting jacked should serve as a wake-up call to the whole alternative media industry. With neither security nor crew to protect them, these reporters are completely exposed,” said Internet commentator Greg Marliave.
Public interest in this robbery stems from fear that it may prevent the comic trio from producing their Asian travel vlog, the most popular of its kind in America. Over the past five months, Huge in Asia – a show about “life, liberty, and pursuit of international fame” – has delighted viewers with its humorous portrayal of misadventure and culture clash.
Huge in Asia put itself on the map with a smash hit, “Ghostride the Volvo,” which they released last November. The two-minute short, protesting the Oakland A’s proposed move to Fremont, has currently been viewed over a million times on the Internet video portals YouTube and MySpace combined.
Capitalizing on its early success, Huge in Asia now boasts one of the most dedicated followings in the online video world. With such memorable shorts as “Love in the Time of Avian Flu” and “What Am I Eating?,” the show has developed a unique style and has expanded the range of its viewership.
Despite their recent setback, the members of Huge in Asia vow to return to the small screen before long. “We’ve overcome adversity before during our travels, this is in no way a death blow,” said Niles. Hasson echoed his friend’s promise. “There’s no question we’ll be back. I’m not going to let three Asians get between me and my dream of becoming an Asian celebrity.”
[tags]Huge In Asia vlog, vloggers robbed[/tags]