Daredevil illegally walks tightrope between downtown L.A. skyscrapers


(KTLA) — Shocking video captured a daredevil walking a tightrope between two downtown Los Angeles skyscrapers.

Oceanwide Plaza, a $1 billion mixed-use retail and luxury apartment building, has been vacant for years and has become infamously known as the graffiti towers, attracting artists and those looking to perform death-defying stunts.

YouTuber Ben Schneider was the latest to attempt a stunt at the location when he walked across a slackline between the buildings, looming high above the L.A. skyline.

Schneider, a self-proclaimed performance artist and daredevil, posts videos under the YouTube handle “Reckless Ben” and has amassed over 350,000 subscribers.

Despite a police perimeter surrounding the buildings, Schenider said he was able to slip past any watchful eyes on May 12.

“We pretended we were a religious cult and we got 20 people to all hold signs saying ‘Jesus Saves’ and the signs were blocking the police’s point of view so we just hopped the fence,” he said.

Inside the building, he and his team members climbed 500 feet up the tower multiple times to string together and tighten two one-inch nylon straps between the towers.

While holding a camera attached to a selfie stick, Schneider carefully mounts the line and begins walking across the rope, his camera capturing the soaring viewpoint and moving traffic down below.

“I call it moral graffiti,” Schneider said of his stunt. “I’m a moral graffiti artist. I vandalize buildings without causing any building damage.”

Schneider, who is an experienced slackliner, spent over two minutes walking the line while attached to a safety harness.

“I was pretty confident that Ben could pull it off,” said Lydia Ren, Schneider’s team member who served as a lookout during the stunt. “I just do this for fun. This is not a job. I actually work at a VR startup so this is like my weekend thing.”

Once police realized there were trespassers inside the towers, authorities began searching the premises. Schneider was seen hiding in a bathtub and covering himself with plywood. He stayed there for several hours before finally exiting the building and evading arrest.

Despite the name of his YouTube handle, Schneider said he’s well aware of the dangers of such stunts. 

“Everything’s dangerous,” he said. “Driving a car is dangerous, but we still drive. The stunt I did was dangerous but I think the reward outweighed the risk because I think we inspired a lot of people. I got to push myself out of my comfort zone. We got to do something scary and inspire the world to go live their best life.”

Oceanwide Plaza is a $1 billion mixed-use retail and luxury apartment project with three unfinished structures. Construction had stalled in January 2019 after the developer lacked the funds to complete it.

The complex, which is located in the heart of downtown L.A.’s entertainment district, has attracted many artists which have since covered over 27 stories of its exterior with graffiti.

The building has been an ongoing problem for police and city leaders due to constant trespassing for those eager to tag the building, perform death-defying stunts, and or even BASE jump.

In March 2024, city council members agreed to allot $3.8 million to clean up and secure the site, which has seen numerous arrests in the weeks since the tagging began.

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