The UT Police Department issued a criminal trespass warning on YouTuber Connor Murphy last week after he repeatedly entered Gregory Gymnasium illegally to film videos for his channel.
Murphy is best known on YouTube as a prankster and fitness personality, with nearly 700,000 channel subscribers and hundreds of thousands of views per video. Many of his videos in recent weeks have been filmed in Gregory Gymnasium as well as various locations in and around campus, including in front of the UT Tower and on Guadalupe Street. Last Monday, a gym staff member called UTPD after seeing Murphy sneak into the gym to film his videos for the second time this semester.
Murphy was first reported to UTPD by the same Gregory Gymnasium staff member on March 9, but by the time officers arrived on scene, Murphy had left the area, Capt. Gonzalo Gonzalez said.
When the staff member called UTPD to report the incident last Monday, officers were able to arrive on scene before Murphy left the area and issued him a criminal trespass warning.
“(Murphy isn’t) a student or staff member, and he didn’t have a guest pass or anything,” Gonzalez said. “That’s considered a theft of service, when you’re supposed to pay (for a membership) through your fees, because the gym isn’t open to the public for free.”
The criminal trespass warning does not require Murphy to pay a fine or appear in court, however, it does restrict him from University property if he has no reason to be on campus, Gonzalez said.
“If we see him out here and he’s applying to go to school, or applying for a job, or he’s here at a baseball game or a concert, we would not arrest him because he’s got legitimate business here,” Gonzalez said. “If he’s just out here videotaping like he’s been doing for his YouTube channel, we would make an arrest for criminal trespassing.”
UT Recreational Sports staff members currently believe Murphy used an existing member’s ID to sneak into the weight room facilities, said Jennifer Speer, director for communications for Recreational Sports. Speer said it’s unclear how many times Murphy used another ID to enter the gym.
In one of Murphy’s videos around the time of the first incident, he is seen inside Gregory Gymnasium holding a censored ID card that he said he borrowed from a friend to get inside.
“We have all different types of memberships, so we don’t know right now (whose ID) it was,” Speer said. “All facilities on campus are open to UT students and affiliates, and since this young man is neither of those, we know that (he got) into our facilities illegally.”
Murphy posted a video taken the day of the incident late last week. As the UTPD officers, whose identities are censored, issued the criminal trespass warning, Murphy stopped to interact with student fans, including government junior Omar Farid, before leaving the area.
Farid said restricting Murphy from all campus property seemed like a harsh punishment.
“If he really did use another person’s ID to sneak in, then I understand him getting banned from the gym,” Farid said. “UTPD’s decision to ban him from the entire campus is a little excessive. I don’t think a YouTube entertainer is endangering our students.”