“Watch this and tell me he doesn’t need help. It’s a secret message I think,” she said before showing the footage of Mandel.
Commenters immediately began theorizing.
“[The bag] says sos and he’s wearing a lifeguard hoodie is this a coincidence???!” one user wrote.
“The life guard shirt indicates his location, he repeats s-s, the 55 is the number to call for police when there’s an intruder, it says sos…” another said.
Rather than create a conspiracy video of his own, TikTok and YouTube star David Dobrik decided to go check on Mandel himself.
He drove up to Mandel’s house, and the comedian appeared outside his door with a large face shield and gloves.
“Howie, people are worried,” Dobrik said, explaining that people found his recent posts to be “weird.”
“I don’t understand why they’re worried … I’m 65, I’m on TikTok, that’s weird,” Mandel responded.
He thanked Dobrik for checking on him and assured him that he is not being held captive by anyone.
Mandel posted yet another video addressing the conspiracy — this time poking fun at the so-called secret messages his followers thought his posts contained.
“Hello people of TikTok, I’m OK. I have not been kidnapped. Thank you all for worrying,” he said while doing bizarre hand gestures. “There is no signs in this video. Nothing to figure out.”
Some commenters still weren’t convinced, though.
“Someone go to his house and check up on this man I’m really concerned for him,” one user wrote.
“Seems suspicious tbh. he doesn’t sound sincere,” another said.
Mandel also confirmed to BuzzFeed News on July 14 that he is “fine.”
“If I was held captive — and I’ve never been held captive before — I would imagine they would not allow me on TikTok,” he told the site. He also said he’s touched people are looking out for him.
“In these times, that warms my heart, that people care about other people. I love that they’re concerned,” he told BuzzFeed News. “But on the other side, I didn’t really understand. I’m just a comedian and a father and someone who’s bored and doing silly things online.”
We’re pretty confident that he’s safe, based on the evidence — and we’re looking forward to more of his ridiculous posts in the future.
If you enjoyed this story, check out this story about how much Mandel’s fellow TikTok celebrity Jason DeRulo makes on the app.
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