“Our latest drive-by shooting was staged and they were all actors,” the brothers told Sky News, revealing that the young girl was actually their cousin.
“I was acting,” said nine-year-old Mary Jalal who said she was given instructions to hug her ‘father’ in the now notorious drive-by video, played by one of the brothers, and then run away.
The brothers said they were torn about whether to come clean and destroy their “brand”, but ultimately having people know they were fake was seen as better than being hated for scaring a young child.
The brothers have apologised for their pranks but will still face court over whether or not their videos are deemed a public nuisance.
Earlier, Max, 20 and Arman, 18, and another 16-year-old were bailed out and banned from producing any more videos over their stunts that involved what looked like scaring ordinary people with fake AK-47s.
Shortly afterwards, one of the brothers mocked police on social media, saying: “Prison Break, who gone (sic) stop us?”
He then followed up hours later with: “Victoria Police logic: There’s rapist, paedophiles, drug dealers, the list goes on. But they’re sooooo proud they arrested us lmao. Go get some real criminals.”
Three hours later, he shared a post from the Jalal’s joint Facebook page:
The trio received a raft of support from fans on their Facebook page, with many saying the chargers were a step too far.
The three were charged with public nuisance, possessing a prohibited weapon, and behaving in an offensive manner in a public place.
One Facebook commentator posted: “Too many people jump on the bandwagon holding their pitch forks without any thought and understanding of the situation.
“As entertainers they tried a drive by prank similar to ones that have had success on YouTube in the past.
“If there was any malicious intent behind this then they wouldn’t have showed it.”
others said police time was better spent on more pressing issues.
“I love you guys Australia needs a sense of humour,” another commented.
While admitting the drive-by went too far last night the brothers posted: “People overlook the image we posted and the countless time we stated that she wasn’t seen during filming. They just want to bring us down, but that’ll never happen.”
Meanwhile Michael Jalal, the father of the boys, told the Herald Sun the youths had upset their family, but criticised police for charging them.
“In this city, people are walking with real guns … people are doing real firing …” Mr Jalal said.
“My boys, I know they shouldn’t do that, but it’s all fake, it’s all make-up. It’s not a real gun, it’s just a prank.”
He added the boys were “hard working” and had been good students, but had simply taken their jokes too far.
Arman Jalal admitted their drive-by prank was “pretty bad” but older brother Max remained defiant and said they don’t need to take the video down.
The charges arose from a video uploaded this week that depicted three men in traditional Middle Eastern attire pointing and shooting the fake gun at people across Melbourne.
A girl is seen fleeing from a phone booth during one of the staged drive-by shootings in the video.
“The drive-by was messed up, I’ll admit that myself,” Arman told media as he left the Victoria Police complex at Docklands yesterday.
He and Max have been released on bail on the condition they do not produce or upload any offensive images or video on social media.
“We did something pretty bad and the punishment … could have been worse,” he said.
The brothers are due to appear before the Melbourne Magistrates Court on May 20, while the 16-year-old has been bailed to appear at a children’s court.
Max does not think the controversial video should be taken down. “Why would I take the video down?” he said.
The three were arrested after Victoria Police’s counter-terrorism unit searched a suburban Melbourne home yesterday looking for items linked to the video.
“They were contacted by family and surrendered themselves into custody,” assistant commissioner of counter-terrorism command Ross Guenther said.
Arman also said he was tricked into going to the police station.
“The police lied because they told us to go to the station to talk,” he said.
“We weren’t meant to go there to get arrested.”
Mr Guenther said his unit had been monitoring the video pranks for weeks but had decided to take action because the trio’s actions were criminal.
“The nature of the videos has escalated. We believe the tipping point’s been reached,” he said.
“When the material was first identified they were less confronting. They’ve certainly escalated … and that’s why we’ve taken it on.”
The three have described their video as a childish prank, but police do not think it is a laughing matter.
“The video suggests this type of behaviour is OK. It’s definitely not,” Mr Guenther said.
“It’s criminal behaviour and that’s the way we’ll be proceeding with it.” He says authorities are trying to get the videos pulled down.
The brothers did the rounds on breakfast TV yesterday, before taking themselves to police. They first appeared on Today when they admitted to host Karl Stefanovic they “were a bit stupid”, went too far and promised to “tone it down a bit”.
Speaking on the breakfast show, the brothers apologised if they had offended anyone but did say they had permission from the father featured in the video to post it online.
“Now I love satire and some of your stuff is edgy, but you did get that one wrong, right?,” Stefanovic asked the brothers.
“Nup,” Max answered before Arman corrected him with “yes”.
“I mean, yep,” Max said before telling Stefanovic, “I can hardly hear you”.
When asked what their own parents thought about the prank videos, the trio were less forthcoming.
Max, the eldest brother who did most of the talking on behalf of the trio, answered: “No comment on our parents”.
Stefanovic then asked if they were in big trouble, to which they answered yes.
“I think people would be pleased to hear that,” he said.
The Today host, well known for his sense of humour, admitted there was some satirical genius in what the boys created but he hoped they had learned their lesson.
“Terrorism isn’t something to joke about anymore,” Max said.
“We’re going to tone it down a bit more. We’re not going to do pranks at that level.”
The brothers then said they intended to stick to comedy skits in the future “until we can think of a prank that’s not harming anyone”.
Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton yesterday told 3AW’s Neil Mitchell that the boys’ behaviour was “deplorable”.
“Absolutely horrid behaviour running around trying to terrorise members of the community, dressed up in clothing in some ridiculous attempt to look like what they perceive terrorists look like,” Mr Ashton said.
Mr Ashton said people could respond violently being the victim of this sort of prank.
“Or they could have a health scare as a result but also what happens if there was a police officer present who witnessed that, it could be a very deadly situation.
“We believe there could be criminal offences committed there, assaults, and imitation firearms and also as I understand it, these people have made some money which is proceeds of crime,” he said.
The trio also appeared on Sunrise yesterday, after their stint on Today, where they were quizzed by hosts Samantha Armytage and David Koch.
Koch asked the brothers what other Muslims made of their stunt and why they dressed as Muslims during the sketches.
“We didn’t dress up as Muslims,” Arman said. “It was Arabian dress,” he said, adding the costume wasn’t religious but traditional.
“They shouldn’t see us as representing Muslims,” Max said. “That’s not what our aim is, our videos don’t represent Islam in a bad way.”
The brothers reiterated that they had approached the father and daughter caught up in the latest prank and apologised to both.
It is not the first time the brothers have sparked outrage with their stunts.
In 2015, they posted a video on Facebook that showed a man dressed in Arabic clothing throwing a bag at a man. The man was so terrified he jumped into a nearby reservoir.
The video caused a massive social media backlash with the brothers criticised for unnecessarily scaring members of the public.
Their appearance on breakfast TV yesterday followed a grilling by The Project’sWaleed Aly and guest panellist and journalist Stan Grant on Wednesday night.
Aly questioned the authenticity of the videos and asked if they were fake, but the boys assured them they were real, while Grant asked if they realised the seriousness of the experience they were putting innocent people through.
“I’ll tell you what’s real: I spent 10 years covering war in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan right through the Middle East,” Grant told the boys.
“I stood in the blood of terrorist bombings. And the people that get killed, overwhelmingly, in terrorist attacks are Muslims themselves. There is nothing funny about this, there’s nothing real about what you’re doing, it is abhorrent. Do you ever stop and think about the message you’re sending?”
Max responded, saying: “If we pretended to kill people in another way would it be cool then? … How come they aired Punk’d for 10 years on TV and everyone seemed to be all right with that, or scare tactics, if you remember that?”.