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Burgess: When "Reveal" Videos Go Wrong

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Gender Reveal

If you watch local news or YouTube videos you're probably already familiar with the concept of “gender reveal” videos. In these clips, expectant parents find creative ways to tell the world whether their child appears to be a boy or a girl. Some people bite into blue or pink cupcakes, while others use clouds of colored powder.

In this area I have very little room with which to mock others. I, myself have been the co-star in our own sex reveal video directed by my wife, Ash. She, along with our son, Harper, and I revealed the sex of our daughter, Emerald, by popping a balloon with pink confetti inside.

But, there are times people take things too far. People like Mike “T-Mike, the Gator King” Kliebert of Ponchatoula, Louisiana; an alligator wrangler, trainer, and tour guide.

In a video posted on Facebook, Kliebert opens the jaws of an alligator and waits to be handed something about the size of a bowling ball,” reported Susan Roesgen of WGNO-TV on March 27. “As friends and family cheer him on, Kliebert puts the ball into the gator’s mouth and lets the beast chomp down. In a split second, the gator’s jaws burst through the 'ball'—which was actually a hollowed out watermelon. And, to the delight of the crowd, gobs of [blue] Jell-O fly out of the gator’s mouth. The Jell-O is blue.”

Luckily for the children and adults who were milling about near the deadly predator, no one was injured. But, after what happened in Arizona last year, I'm going to have to ask other parents-to-be to take a giant step back from the increasingly elaborate nature of these videos.

Off-duty Border Patrol Agent Dennis Dickey was ordered Sept. 28 to pay $220,000 in restitution and serve five years probation after he pleaded guilty in federal court to a misdemeanor charge of causing a fire without a permit.

“Nearly 800 firefighters from various agencies battled the Sawmill Fire for about a week in April 2017, at a cost of about $8.2 million,” reported Ron Medvescek of the Arizona Daily Star. “The wildfire began when Dickey shot a target that contained Tannerite, an explosive substance designed to detonate when shot by a high-velocity firearm, U.S. Forest Service Special Agent Brent Robinson wrote in an affidavit filed Sept. 20 in U.S. District Court. The explosion was caught on film by a witness.”

And why will Dickey be borrowing $100,000 from his retirement fund to pay the initial installment this week?

“The explosive target was part of a celebration of his wife’s pregnancy and contained colored powder to show the gender of their baby, blue for a boy or pink for a girl,” Dickey’s attorney Sean Chapman told Medvescek.

So, parents, I'm pleading with you: If you find yourself atop a World War II tank ready to hit record, like a young couple in Minnesota did last week, pause for a moment to consider what might go wrong.

Rob Burgess, News Editor at NUVO Newsweekly, can be reached by email at, by phone at 317-808-4614 or on Twitter @robaburg.

Writer - Local Government and Justice

My background is that I'm the fourth generation in my family to work as a journalist. I also have a degree from Indiana University in Elementary Education. My wife, Ash, and I have two children, Harper, 4, and Emerald, 1.