An image of a person – who appeared to be Justin Bieber – eating a burrito like corn on the cob quickly went viral on Twitter, Facebook, and a slew of other sites. While the picture does look genuine, the viral photo was actually staged, and the pranksters, a group of YouTubers who are behind the Yes Theory channel, explained how it was done.
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First, Yes Theory hired a convincing Bieber lookalike for the prank, flying the man to Los Angeles from Canada.
Then, after studying the real Bieber’s look, they made sure to select attire that matched his style, opting for long pants and long sleeves since the real Bieber is heavily tattooed and serious fans could potentially notice if any ink wasn’t a match.
They also used a wig to make sure the lookalike’s hair more closely resembled Bieber’s current style.
Originally, according to a report by Gizmodo, the YouTubers wanted a video of the impersonator assisting an old woman as she crossed the street to go viral, but it failed to capture enough attention.
They ultimately decided to give the burrito idea a try. At first, they posted the photo on Reddit, but their efforts were thwarted since the added the image to r/Pics, a massive community where a single picture could go largely unnoticed.
After adding the picture to r/MildlyInfuriating, the Bieber image started gaining traction.
Soon, Paper magazine wrote about the photo, followed by publications like Cosmopolitan and Vanity Fair. Mainstream news outlets, including the BBC, also discussed the burrito-eating technique used by the fake Bieber.
When asked by the media about the image, the pranksters initially insisted that they just happened to come across Bieber, which now makes it clear that their attempt to fool everyone succeeded.
However, the photo was also quickly debunked after it went viral, though not everyone who was exposed to the original image likely heard that the picture wasn’t genuine then.
Yes Theory ultimately published a video on YouTube explaining how they “fooled the internet” with the fake Bieber pic and, since it has over 1.4 million views since releasing on Sunday, there is a decent chance this update will have enough exposure to convince the masses that the real Bieber wasn’t in the photo.