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Tickled director now digging into Instagram's weird “Hotel Bed Jumping Community"

Screenshot: @helen_maritime (Instagram)

Documentary filmmaker David Farrier, whose Tickled introduced us to the bizarre world of competitive endurance tickling, has found a new weird corner of the internet to investigate. It’s called the Hotel Bed Jumping Community and, as one might suspect, it involves random people online, primarily Instagram influencers, taking photos and videos of themselves jumping on hotel beds. Why would someone do this? For charity, of course! Well, sort of.

According to Farrier’s recent article on The Spinoff, the @hotelbedjumping_community account bills itself as a “travel agency” and currently has just under 26,000 followers. Every day, the account curates a tonally incongruous collection of stock images, influencer submitted photos (many of which feature women in their underwear), and pictures of sick kids starving on the ground. This last bit is an integral part of the bed-jumping grift, as the Hotel Bed Jumping Community claims to be a facet of the #jumpforkids campaign that aims to provide beds and shelter for homeless youth. However, when Farrier reached out to Puffy Beds, the company that created the #jumpforkids campaign, he learned, unsurprisingly, they have no affiliation with the Hotel Bed Jumping Community.

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Things only get weirder from there. Apparently, the creator or creators behind the Hotel Bed Jumping Community have been able to leverage their social media following into getting comped hotel rooms at various hotels in New Zealand, offering them up to influencers in exchange for photos of them jumping on the beds. For these photoshoots, the influencers are asked to provide very specific content. “For the footage we also request a few different outfits… eg gym gear with shoes on, or just some casual outfits… shirts/jean, cocktail dress, whatever you feel comfortable in,” reads one message received by an influencer.

We’d love to show you some of the account’s posts to give you a better idea of the weirdness, but, since Farrier’s article published last weekend, the Hotel Bed Jumping Community has changed their account name multiple times and gone private, presumably in an effort to shield themselves from criticism.

Most puzzling to the author is the exact nature of the Hotel Bed Jumping Community’s endgame. Is there a point at which photos of random people jumping on beds and the occasional free hotel room turns into big bucks? Or, as was the case in Farrier’s Tickled, is this just some sort of elaborate scheme created by one person with a very specific fetish? It’s impossible to know, but one thing that’s certain is that the Hotel Bed Jumping Community does not want people talking about them. That message came loud and clear when Farrier messaged the account about his impending report. “Should you pursue with your article and publish it we will be taking action.”

You can read the full, very weird account here.

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About the author

Dan Neilan

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Have Fun — Will Travel.