The July 19 broadcast of ABC’s “What Would You Do?” at first seemed to be devoid of any racial themes that usually plague the overly-contrived ABC "News" show. Yet, they needed to insert a racial element to see if bystanders would stop a would-be thief in broad daylight. A man named Uvall is an actor playing your everyday American commuting to work. He parks his car along the front of New York Panini in Huntington, New York. His car has over $10,000 in valuables, which Kevin, another actor who happens to be a white guy will try to steal. He’s mostly successful. Yet, he’s stopped by a naval officer -- a real person, not an actor -- and placed under a citizen’s arrest. Nevertheless, ABC had to play the race game to see if there’s more to Kevin’s success.
During the second go-around in this scenario, Gabriel replaces Kevin. He’s another actor, and he happens to be black. He’s caught every time, and also placed under citizen’s arrest. Yet, is this racism, or more perceptive bystanders, the folks at ABC ask?
At the end of the day, everyone who intervened said race wasn’t an issue. They weren’t malicious towards Gabriel due to his race, but his felonious activity. So, ABC’s attempt to capture explicit racism on camera fails. Let’s see what’s in store next week.
JOHN QUINONES: Back in New York Panini where today $10,000 worth of valuables were stolen from a car we left open and unattended.
KEVIN, ACTOR, “THE THIEF:” I'm just too good a thief.
QUINONES: But what if now we swap out our thief, Kevin Gabriel.
Our hidden cameras are rolling
UVALL: My screen just went dark. Do you know what time it is by any chance?
SISTER#1: It’s 12:18.
QUINONES: First up, these two sisters who immediately notice that something's not quite right here.
SISTER#2: What's this guy doing?
SISTER#1 and #2: Excuse me. Excuse me. What are you doing?
GABRIEL, ACTOR: Just getting some stuff.
SISTER#1 and #2: No. That's not your car.
GABRIEL: It's all right. Is this your car?
SISTER#1: That's one of our friend's car that just walked away.
GABRIEL: How do you know it's not my car?
SISTER#1: Because he was just here.
GABRIEL: Your friend was just here?
SISTER#1 and #2: Yes.
GABRIEL: My fault, I thought it was mine. I thought it was my car.
SISTER#1: You thought it was your car.
GABRIEL: Yeah, I thought it was my car. They look the same.
SISTER#2: You have the wrong car.
SISTER#1: You're kidding, right?
QUINONES: They waste no time chasing our thief away.
GABRIEL: My fault. My fault.
SISTER#1: Yeah, keep walking. And now Uvall is back.
SISTER#1: Sir, is this your car?
SISTER #1: Someone just almost tried robbing things out of your car.
SISTER#2: Stealing your Mac and your camera.
UVALL: What did look like?
SISTER#1: He was black. He had a bag across him.
QUINONES: Pretty impressive. Within seconds the Hocher[sic] sisters take complete control of the situation.
You reacted very quickly.
SISTER#1: Things like that normally don't happen around here and I wouldn't -- I would want someone to do that for me.
QUINONES: Turns out when Gabriel is our thief many people have no problem defending the open car.
FEMALE CUSTOMER: Who's this guy?
Hey, what are you doing?
GABRIEL: Oh, this is my car.
FEMALE CUSTOMER: No, it isn't. I just saw the guy walking to the other store.
QUINONES: Right away she's out of her chair searching for the owner.
GABRIEL: Hey, there's a lot here -- do you want to split -- ma'am, we could split had.
QUINONES: And her daughter, she's threatening to call the cops.
FEMALE CUSTOMER’S DAUGHTER: You better put that back or I'm calling the police.
GABRIEL: It’s not even a big deal.
FEMALE CUSTOMER’S DAUGHTER: I'm calling right now.
QUINONES: Busted again. Gabriel makes his getaway just as Uvall returns to the scene.
FEMALE CUSTOMERL I saw you. I saw -- I knew your car was here and this black man came over, he’s opening up the car, looking around, and he’s taking your laptop.
FEMALE CUSTOMER: Seriously.
QUINONES: Time to introduce ourselves. I'm John Quinones. This is "What Would You Do?"
FEMALE CUSTOMER: Oh, my gosh, that is so funny.
QUINONES: What was going through your mind?
FEMALE CUSTOMER: Holy smokes, le me go get the owner. He can't be serious, right?
QUINONES: This isn't your car.
FEMALE CUSTOMER: This is not your stuff. Leave it alone.
QUINONES: Will Gabriel ever get away with it? Watch this couple. The rest of the time it's pretty tough on our thief and no one intervenes as boldly as this man.
MALE CUSTOMER: Stand where you are. Show me your hands. What are you doing?
GABRIEL: I thought this was my car.
MALE CUSTOMER: You thought it was your car.
GABRIEL: Yeah, I thought it was my car.
MALE CUSTOMER: What’d you got in the bag?
GABRIEL: It’s just my laptop.
MALE CUSTOMER: What kind of car is this?
GABRIEL: It’s Huh?
MALE CUSTOMER: Tell me what kind of car it is.
GABRIEL: It's your car? Yeah.
MALE CUSTOMER: It's a Chrysler. I'm going to ask you step out and you're going to step out with me. Please don’t move quick. Show me your hands.
GABRIEL: Whatever you say …I got my hands…My hands are up.
QUINONES: Gabriel is not going anywhere. Time to meet John Gore [sic].
JOHN GORE: The way he grabbed that laptop so quick I thought he was going to run real quick.
QUINONES: Weren't you worried about your own safety?
GORE: I didn't. You're right. I should have been.
QUINONES: But you think we should watch out for each other.
GORE: Always, always. But maybe the answer is to call the police instead of jumping in.
QUINONES: Everyone insists they would have reacted the same way regardless of color.
The fact that he was African-American, did that play in --
SISTER#1 and #2: Not at all.
QUINONES: The fact that he was African-American --
FEMALE CUSTOMER: No, I just knew it wasn't his car, period.
QUINONES: Does race figure in at all?
QUINONES: You would have jumped in no matter what?