This undated publicity photo released by ABC shows host Jimmy Kimmel, right, with guest, Daphne the “Twerk” Girl, on the Emmy Award-nominated “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” Sept. 9, 2013 show. Kimmel said on his ABC talk show Monday, Sept. 9, 2013, that a viral video of a twerking accident was a fake that he arranged as a prank. The show airs every weeknight (11:35 p.m. – 12:41 a.m., ET). (AP Photo/ABC, Randy Holmes)
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Jimmy Kimmel confessed to being the prankster behind a staged twerking accident video, saying his revelation might bring an end to the suggestive move.
Maybe, maybe not. It also remains to be seen whether the clip of a woman apparently set afire while twerking causes TV news programs and other shows to be more cautious about airing unverified videos.
Kimmel admitted on his ABC late-night show Monday that he had created the YouTube clip that drew more than 9 million views in less than a week. He introduced stuntwoman Daphne Avalon, who played fictional, ill-fated twerker Caitlin Heller.
“To the conspiracy theorists on the Internet who thought the video was fake, you’re right: The video was fake, we made it up,” Kimmel said.
Hundreds of news outlets were punked into showing it, he said. Kimmel marveled that some even pinned the blame for the mishap on Miley Cyrus, who brought twerking to the fore with her performance on last month’s MTV Video Music Awards.
“Good thing nothing is happening in Syria right now,” Kimmel said, taking a jab at the newscasts that gave his video airtime.
In the clip posted last week, a young woman’s twerking ends in screams as she topples into a table with burning candles. “I tried making a sexy twerk video for my boyfriend and things got a little too hot,” reads a comment accompanying the video.
On “Jimmy Kimmel Live” Monday, the host introduced the rest of the clip that showed him bursting into the woman’s living room — dressed in a pink top and black yoga pants to match hers — and dousing her with a fire extinguisher.
“All part of the job, ma’am,” Kimmel says, giving a thumbs-up to the camera.
TV news directors should have done their homework before airing the clip, said Eric Deggans, TV and media critic for the Tampa Bay (Fla.) Times and recently announced TV critic for National Public Radio.
“Too often, especially on morning shows and cable shows not considered ‘hard news’ shows, they wind up running videos and commenting like they are accurate,” Deggans said. But the programs often have no idea who posted the video or how or why it was produced, he said.
While viewers are aware many viral videos are fake, when they see one aired widely on TV the likely reaction is, ‘Oh, it must be true. All these places are airing it,'” Deegans said. “But none has checked it out.”
Some newscasters and talk show hosts hedged their bets, saying it could be a fake.
In a clip “sampler,” Kimmel highlighted the video’s use by, among others, HLN, ABC and several local Fox stations.
Kimmel’s show has feasted on in-house videos before, including faux romantic encounters involving Kimmel, his former girlfriend Sarah Silverman, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. But those aired as obvious parodies on “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” not as online pranks.