That Viral Drone Date Guy’s Story Doesn’t Quite Check Out

We talked to him, and the clip might be a bit less spontaneous than advertised

Peter Slattery
Published in
4 min readApr 2, 2020


Photos courtesy of Jeremy Cohen/TikTok

InIn a TikTok video that went massively viral last week, 28-year-old freelance photographer Jeremy Cohen invites viewers to follow along as he lands a date with a “quarantined cutie” via some ingenious flirting tactics while practicing social isolation.

In the video, which Cohen narrates over the popular TikTok track “death bed (coffee for your head)” by Powfu, he explains how he spotted Tori Cignarella dancing on a roof in his neighborhood of Bushwick, Brooklyn. He says he “needed to say hi to her,” got her attention by waving, and decided to make a move, attaching his phone number to a drone and flying it over to her. The video ends with what appears to be a text message from her on his phone.

The views poured in. Uploaded on March 22, Cohen’s video has surpassed 30 million views on TikTok. “I can’t believe this actually worked and yes this is a real story,” he wrote in a repost of the video on Twitter, which itself has clocked more than 6 million views.

But a handful of posts on social media doubted the authenticity of the first clip, with some questioning the spontaneity of the video. Others wondered how Cohen knew Cignarella wouldn’t just run away with the drone, which is a DJI Mavic Pro that retails around $1,000, if they hadn’t coordinated beforehand.

“Going viral” has long required oversimplification and removal of context — a lot of heartwarming videos on social platforms are mislabeled, deceptively edited, or faked altogether — and TikTok is no different. So, was this a stirring moment of real human connection or a setup hardwired for maximum virality? With nothing…