Last week, a photograph went around the internet that appeared to show all-grown-up pop icon Justin Bieber eating a burrito from the side like a damned fool. The image went viral, and a tweet from Noisey's own Ryan Bassil seemed to be at least partly responsible for the world collectively pausing, forgetting the horror of the everyday, and asking: "Why is Justin Bieber, a grown individual with opposable thumbs, eating this delicious food pouch like it's a cob of fucking corn?"
It turns out that the image was in fact a fairly elaborate hoax perpetrated by a group of pranksters called Yes Theory. They brainstormed a few ideas, flew Bieber lookalike Brad Sousa in from Canada, bought him a wig to match the pop star's luscious locks, dressed him up in a hoodie big enough to hide his untattooed neck and forearms, and then set to work.
As you can see in the 12-minute video above, which they posted to YouTube yesterday, Yes Theory also filmed a video of faux-Bieber helping a Rent-A-Grandma (real thing!) across the road, but that didn't pick up. The burrito shot also languished in Reddit's nether regions for a while until one member of the group posted it to r/mildlyinfuriating. From there, it jumped to Reddit's front page, some esteemed publications, Ryan's tweets, the morning news, this illuminating VICE investigation, ESPN's Around The Horn, and the entire planet. There was some skepticism, of course—critical journalism hasn't totally died—but most of the world just chose to believe.
The Yes Theory video provides some interesting insight into the way that these things can take off, the relative ease with which one can perpetrate a hoax, and the weird challenges one faces when trying to desperately make it look like Justin Bieber can't eat a fairly self-explanatory food item without looking like a doofus.
But it is also sad news: There is no longer any evidence to support the notion that Justin Bieber cannot eat a burrito like a normal person. Normal service is resumed.
Alex Robert Ross eats corn on the cob like it's a burrito. Follow him on Twitter.