German bar association puts hands up to online hoax that went viral

Avatar photo

By Thomas Connelly on

Lawyers in The Fatherland confound stereotypes by producing a vaguely funny video about the perils of not seeking legal advice when divorcing


A body representing thousands of German lawyers this week played a practical joke on millions of Internet users by publishing a video putatively featuring a disgruntled husband sawing his possessions in half in a bizarre divorce settlement.

The video — which appeared on Youtube last week — was titled “Für Laura” and went viral on sites including Reddit. It has has received more than 6 million views to date.

The 1’35” clip opens with homemade-style credits and introduction in German. With the help of the bods over at Legal Cheek’s languages department, the introduction translates as:

Thank you for 12 ‘beautiful’ years Laura !!!!! You’ve really earned half; greetings to my successor.

Viewers are then treated to low quality footage of a chap named “Martin G” hacking items of property in half after the apparent breakdown of his 12-year marriage. Martin can be seen using various power tools as he neatly chops up a range of items, including chairs, an iPhone and even a car.


After news outlets around the world rushed to report on the viral hit, it now appears the whole thing was an elaborate and ingeniously conceived PR stunt.

The marketing gurus over at Deutsche Anwaltauskunft — an online legal magazine linked to the German Bar Association — have admitted all on their website, with a blog entitled “Confession: We are Martin G”.

The online mea culpa — which appeared over the weekend — details the viral vid’s aim, which was to point out humorously that not enough couples take legal precautions in the event of separation.

A spokesman for the German Bar Association told Deutsche Anwaltauskunft:

We are very pleased and would have never expected that our message could reach millions of people worldwide in such a short period of time. No one here expected the numerous interview requests about the fake story and fake divorced husband Martin G. from all parts of the world.

If you’re in the market for half a TV, the items used in the publicity stunt are currently up for grabs on ebay, with all proceeds going to charities.

Legal Cheek awaits a Bar Council-produced video of a fictional happy-slapping of Michael Gove to reach the worldwideweb in a bid to raise awareness of legal aid cuts.

Watch the video in full below: