USC asks judge to stop pair’s lecture takeovers done for YouTube views
USC filed suit Wednesday seeking a court order banning from campus two men who have allegedly barged into classrooms during live lectures and created disturbances that they record for YouTube showings.
The university’s Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit alleges both private and public nuisance by the defendants, Ernest Kanevsky and Yuguo Bai. The university also seeks unspecified damages and attorneys’ fees.
Kanevsky and Bai could not be immediately reached.
“This action arises due to dangerous and reckless conduct by (Kanevsky and Bai) targeting (USC’s) campus, students and faculty through the perpetration of panic-inducing classroom takeovers inside (USC’s) lecture halls,” the suit states.
The stunts are suggested to YouTube followers of the pair as a dare with the intent of generating disruption and chaos leading to an increased social media presence for themselves, the suit alleges.
Beginning in 2021, Kanevsky and Bai, who do not attend USC, have at least three times barged into live lectures inside Mark Taper Hall and recorded the audio and video of “scared and disturbed faculty and students,” the suit states.
Each incident has caused terror and disruption among USC’s students and faculty, the suit alleges.
The actions of Kanevsky and Bai have disrupted the learning environment by provoking extreme fear and anxiety just as USC and other universities are trying to safely return students and faculty to an in-person learning environment, according to the suit.
During one of the alleged classroom takeovers last Sept. 20 during a data sciences lecture before about 50 students, an associate of the pair used his large size to intimidate the professor and then Bai began “teaching” the students himself, the suit states.
Bai told the students that marijuana was the way to heaven and that he needed the drug to survive, prompting some students to leave, according to the suit.
When another classroom takeover occurred Nov. 12 during another lecture, Kanevsky, Bai and two colleagues were dressed as characters from the “Squid Game” television program, the suit states.
Bai approached the professor and, while in front of the students, told the instructor that there were “a bunch of people with weapons” chasing him and that he needed help, the suit states.
Kanevsky asked the students if there was a “Hugo Boss” in the classroom, which worried the Holocaust lecturer because he feared violence could happen because German fashion house Hugo Boss had made uniforms for Nazis in World War II, the suit states.
The disruption ended when Kanevsky and an associate in a bodysuit lifted Bai off of the ground in what resembled a kidnapping and carried Bai away, the suit states.
As Bai was lifted past the classroom door, his final words to the students were that his mother “was going to die” as a result of what had just happened.
During the Holocaust lecture incident on March 29, Kanevsky entered the classroom holding a silver briefcase and dressed as a member of the Russian Mafia with a black skintight muscle shirt and black slacks, the suit states.
Towering over Bai while swaying back and forth with the briefcase, Kanevsky told Bai that Bai’s father owed him $50,000, the suit states.
“It was at that point when a wave of panic appeared to flow over (USC’s) students, who began fleeing the classroom en masse, some tripping over seats and each other while still others leaving behind laptops and backpacks “in a frantic attempt to get away from Kanevsky and Bai and what reasonably appeared to them as a credible threat of imminent classroom violence,” the suit states.
The pair were later stopped by police at gunpoint in a nearby parking structure while fleeing, the suit states.