Justin Bieber sparked a worldwide debate last week about the proper way to eat a burrito after he was pictured eating one like a complete fool.
Except, it turns out, he wasn’t.
YouTube channel Yes Theory laid claim to the Reddit photo in a video posted Sunday – and explained that the photo was a hoax.
The controversy began when a picture surfaced on Thursday with someone who bared a striking resemblance to the 24-year-old Canadian singer sitting on a park bench in Los Angeles while eating a burrito … sideways.
Fake news: This viral photo of Justin Bieber eating a burrito sideways was a complete hoax staged by YouTube creators Yes Theory and debunked in a video published Sunday
The picture skyrocketed to the top of Reddit and sparked a debate about how one best consumes the Mexican meal.
Now it seems the joke is on all of us because the whole thing was a carefully orchestrated prank by the popular YouTube content creators.
The production team quietly played puppet master behind the scenes, from finding Bieber’s doppelgager, to directing the idiotic burrito bite, to sending the photos to the media.
They even went so far as to flat out lie to some reporters who questioned the veracity of the photo, all while pretending to be regular guys who snapped the holy grail of celebrity spotting.
Shocked: Thomas Brag from Yes Theory proudly flaunted the success of the viral hoax in a 12 minute explainer video
Who’s that? The Bieber look-a-like is actually another Canadian named Brad Sousa who happens to resemble the singer
Makeover: Yes Theory gave Brad a Bieber makeover with a wig, fake tattoos and a hoodie
In a 12 minute video published on their YouTube page to over 2.5 million subscribers, the Yes Theory boys pulled back the curtain on how they were able to play the public like a finely tuned fiddle.
The producers tapped a fellow Canadian, Brad Sousa, who looks uncannily like Justin and dressed him in a wig and sloppy outfit that would befit the pop star’s style.
In the explainer, they chronicled how it all went down while poking fun at the same media they were desperate to have cover the hoax.
‘Gotcha,’ a blonde haired fratboy-esque producer named Thomas Brag said into the camera at the start of the video.
Eat this! Thomas Brad was filmed instructing the faux pop star on exactly how to eat the burrito for maximum weirdness
Going viral: A friend joined the Yes Theory team just to help them take the video to viral heights by posting it in the ‘mildly infuriating’ sub-Reddit
‘Yup, that photo of Justin Bieber eating a burrito sideways was completely staged and we are the ones that did it:’ Yes Theory proudly copped to orchestrating the photo
‘Yup, that photo of Justin Bieber eating a burrito sideways was completely staged and we are the ones that did it,’ the voice over proudly extolled.
‘To get this to go viral we have to have people in the news think it’s real, because those are the people that are going to spread it,’ a member of the team explained.
The idea for the video, which Yes Theory admitted is somewhat off-brand for them, was born out of simply stumbling upon Sousa’s social media account.
Their first attempt to get a viral moment with fake-Justin was to have him help a grandmom cross the road but it didn’t catch on, so they moved on to the burrito.
Important question: The picture went viral on Twitter after someone asked if Justin was unaware how to eat a burrito properly
True or False: A few did question whether it was actually the pop star or if the photo was staged
Just like Justin: Once the wig was on, it was nearly impossible to tell that the impostor wasn’t actually the star
The video shows the producers instructing the faux Bieber on how to dress, how to sit and how to take the exact sideways bite heard round the world.
‘Our viral strategy was simple,’ Thomas Brag bragged.
Yes Theory sent the images out wide to news outlets and posted it on Reddit but it was a slow start, according to them.
It wasn’t until a friend, Connor, jointed the team and posted the image on the ‘mildly infuriating’ sub-Reddit that it caught on and quickly shot to the top of the crowdsourced site.
‘Not a single person is questioning whether that’s actually Justin Bieber,’ Yes Theory founder Zack Honarvar mused.
Media madness: The story went far and wide was covered by tons of outlets as if the man on the bench really was Justin
Burrito-gate: Everyone seemed to have something to say about the wild photo not knowing they were being played by a pretender
Before long the media had caught wind of the furious internet debate over the image and, despite a hoard of outlets that covered the photo, several questioned whether it was Justin or whether it was staged.
Daily Mail noted that the person in the image had not been verified as the Sorry singer when the image was first published.
Several outlets reached out to Connor, who posted the photo on Reddit for interviews.
In one video session with Access Hollywood, the reporter (who was blurred) asked Connor about the rumor it was a staged prank.
Discomfort: Yes Theory admitted that the hoax was a bit off-brand for their team but their company line of ‘seek discomfort’ was definitely present in the awkward photo
Mission Accomplished: The YouTubers said in the video they set out to prove a point about staging stories
‘So what do you say to everyone trying to prove it’s not Bieber,’ the reporter pressed.
‘That would be crazy, I don’t know why people would even think that,’ Connor deflected.
‘It definitely was him,’ he lied on the phone with someone else.
For his part, the real Justin Bieber has yet to respond to his image being borrowed for the bizarre viral burrito eating prank.