If you were one of the more than 9 million people who clicked on YouTube to watch a woman named “Caitlin Heller” catch on fire in a move dubbed the “Worst Twerk Fail EVER,” then consider yourself hoaxed.
The video, which made Heller the dream guest of talk shows to find out what happened, is nothing more than the brainchild of late-night, talk show host Jimmy Kimmel.
“Thank you for helping us deceive the world and hopefully put an end to twerking forever,” Kimmel said on his show Monday night.
Kimmel was speaking to Daphne Avalon, the stuntwoman hired by his show, “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” to execute the hoax. Avalon appeared on Kimmel’s show in the role of “Caitlin Heller” for what was billed as a first interview.
After a few minutes of talking with Avalon-as-Heller, Kimmel aired the “unseen footage” of the twerk video, which showed Kimmel, dressed in a pink shirt, stepping into the scene and putting out the post-twerk fire with a fire extinguisher
Kimmel said he and his team made the video two months ago to prove how a fake video can go viral so quickly. The video was posted with no promotion on social media or anywhere else, yet still became a trending topic online.
“Even though the video was fake, that did not stop hundreds of news outlets from showing it. Some people even blamed Miley Cyrus, as if this was her fault,” Kimmel said, referring to the pop star who had twerked her way to controversy at the MTV Video Music Awards in August, just before the Kimmel hoax was posted.
After the hoax was revealed, Kimmel took to Twitter to comfort the millions of viewers who thought twerking was not just controversial but now dangerous.
“if it makes you feel any better,” he wrote, “I would have believed it too #twerkburn.”