It’s the YouTube video that put Adam Tang, also known as Afroduck, on the fast track to trouble.
While living in New York, Tang videotaped himself racing around Manhattan in his BMW Z4 just before dawn on a Tuesday morning. Using the nickname Afroduck, he posted a slickly-produced timelapse video of his ride around Manhattan, which attracted millions of online viewers and the attention of New York City authorities.
“I might be an idiot for what I did,” says Tang in an exclusive interview with Global BC. “I made a mistake. I wasn’t thinking about the consequences.”
Tang says he was simply duplicating what others had already done, taking part in an underground challenge to drive around the perimeter of Manhattan as quickly as possible. Tang’s video shows that he made the journey in record time, completing the 42.6-kilometre route in just 24 minutes for an average speed of about 100 kilometres per hour.
FULL VIDEO: Adam Tang’s lap of Manhattan
After the video went viral, Tang says New York police got his address from his Internet service provider and paid him a visit.
“When the police came to my door, I did what most Canadians are taught to do, I cooperated,” he says. “And if I didn’t cooperate, I wouldn’t be in this mess.”
He was eventually charged with reckless endangerment. Before the trial was over, Tang fled to Canada.
“I ultimately had to pull the plug on the situation because I figured out really quickly that I was fighting a losing battle,” he says. “And the safest place for me to be…is in Canada.”
He was convicted in absentia and on Dec. 8 he was sentenced to one year in prison. Supreme Court Judge Ann Donnelly ripped into Tang, saying, “this is a person who sped around our city as fast he could…for what? So he could indulge some juvenile fantasy of who can drive a car the fastest around New York City.”
Tang says the original, unedited video which was shown in court proves he was not driving recklessly. He ran one red light but obeyed all others.
“I didn’t think what I did was worthy of jail time per se,” he says. “It wasn’t like I was trafficking drugs or anything like that.
“I drove around the city really quickly–at the heart of the issue–and made a YouTube video and a million people watched.”
Tangs says he hasn’t decided if he will appeal the decision and sentence or avoid returning to the U.S.