Justin Bieber sparked a worldwide debate last week about the right way to eat a burrito after he was photographed eating one like a complete idiot.
Except, it turns out, it wasn’t.
Yes Theory YouTube channel claimed the Reddit image in a video posted Sunday — and made it clear that the image was a hoax.
The controversy began when a photo surfaced Thursday with someone strikingly resembling the 24-year-old Canadian singer sitting on a park bench in Los Angeles while eating a burrito…on the side.
Fake news: This viral photo of Justin Bieber eating a sideways burrito was a complete hoax by YouTube Yes Theory creators and revealed in a video posted Sunday
The photo skyrocketed to the top of Reddit and sparked a debate about the best way to eat a Mexican meal.
Now it looks like the joke is to all of us because the whole thing was a carefully orchestrated prank by popular YouTube content creators.
The production team quietly played the puppeteer behind the scenes, from finding Bieber’s doppelgager, to directing the stupid burrito bite, to sending pictures to the media.
They even went so far as to debunk the lies of some reporters who questioned the authenticity of the photo, all while pretending to be regular guys who picked up the holy grail of celebrity spotting.
Shocked: Yes Theory’s Thomas Bragg proudly flaunted the success of the viral hoax in a 12-minute explainer video
who’s that? The Bieber look-a-like actually resembles another Canadian named Brad Souza who looks like the singer
Makeover: Yes the theory gave Brad Bieber a makeover with a wig, fake tattoo and headpiece
In a 12-minute video posted to their YouTube page to more than 2.5 million subscribers, The Yes Theory boys pull back the curtain on how they manage to play the audience like a finely tuned violin.
The producers chose a fellow Canadian, Brad Sousa, who looks uncannily like Justin and dressed him in a wig and a sloppy outfit that matched the pop star’s style.
In the caption, they chronicle how it all happened while mocking the same media they were desperate to cover for the hoax.
“Gotcha,” a blonde-haired producer named Thomas Brag says into the camera at the start of the video.
all of this! Thomas Brad has been filmed instructing the faux pop star on exactly how to eat a burrito for maximum weirdness
Go viral: A friend joined the Yes Theory team only to help them take the video to viral heights by posting it to the ‘somewhat infuriating’ Reddit subreddit
Yes, the photo of Justin Bieber eating a burrito sideways was totally staged and we did it:
“Yeah, that picture of Justin Bieber eating a side burrito was totally staged and we did it,” the voice proudly praised.
“For this to go viral, there needs to be people in the news who think it’s true, because those are the people who are going to get it out there,” one team member explained.
The idea for the video, which Yes Theory admitted was off-brand for them, was born out of just stumbling across Sousa’s social media account.
Their first attempt at having a viral moment with a fake-Justin was to have him help a grandmother cross the road but it didn’t work, so they switched to burritos.
Big question: The photo went viral on Twitter after someone asked if Justin didn’t know how to properly eat a burrito
True or False: Some have wondered if this is actually the pop star or if the photo was staged
Just like Justin: Once the wig was on, it was nearly impossible to tell the impostor wasn’t actually the star
The video shows the producers instructing the fake Bieber on how to dress, how to sit, and how to take the subtle side bite that is heard all over the world.
“Our viral strategy was simple,” boasts Thomas Bragg.
Yes Theory sent the photos widely to news outlets and posted them on Reddit but it was a slow start, according to it.
It wasn’t until a friend, Connor, joined the team and posted the photo on the “somewhat infuriating” Reddit sub that it picked up and quickly shot to the top of the crowdsourcing site.
“There isn’t a single person who wonders if this is actually Justin Bieber,” said Yes Theory founder Zack Honarvar.
Media frenzy: The story went viral and was covered by tons of outlets as if the guy on the bench is really Justin
Burrito Gate: It seems like everyone has something to say about the wild image without knowing that a protester is playing it
It wasn’t long until the media gripped the furious online controversy over the photo, and despite a slew of outlets covering the photo, many wondered if it was Justin or if it was a skit.
The Daily Mail noted that the person in the photo had not been verified as the Sorry Singer when the photo was first published.
Several outlets reached out to Connor, who posted the photo to Reddit, for interviews.
In one of the video sessions with Access Hollywood, the (unintelligible) reporter asked Connor about the rumor being a staged joke.
Discomfort: Yes Theory admitted the hoax was off their team’s trademark, but their company line of “looking for discomfort” was definitely present in the embarrassing photo
Mission accomplished: In the video, the YouTubers said they set out to prove their point about curating stories
And the reporter pressed: “So what do you say to everyone trying to prove it’s not Bieber?”
“That would be crazy, I don’t know why people would think that,” Connor deflected.
He lied on the phone with someone else: “It was definitely him.”
For his part, the real Justin Bieber has yet to respond to his image being borrowed for a bizarre viral burrito eating prank.