Magic in the form of a wily rodent dubbed “Pizza Rat” waltzed into our lives last fall, causing even the coldest hearts to be charmed by his carb-loving antics. He was soon joined by brothers-in-arms such as “Selfie Rat” and most recently, “Rat Rat.” But what if everything you knew about Pizza Rat and his comrades was a bold-faced lie? What if the whole thing was actually staged?

Pizza Rat truthers, brace yourselves. Gothamist put on their Sherlock hat and spoke to several people who claim that a woman named Zardulu is behind some of these rat videos. Eric Yearwood, an actor and member of Upright Citizens Brigade, told Gothamist he was paid $200 by Zardulu to star as the sleeping man in the Selfie Rat video. “She said she was a NYC-based performance artist and wanted help with a project and was going to pay me a little bit of money,” Yearwood said. In the video, Yearwood wakes up when he realizes a rat is crawling on him, then later discovers that the rat accidentally took a selfie with his phone. How whimsical.

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A man named Don Richards had filmed the incident, which ended up going viral. Apparently this “Don Richards” character was also a ruse. I decided to turn to Anagram-Solver.net to see if I could crack the code myself.

Alas, nothing.

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Gothamist also spoke to Matt Little and Pat Baer, the people who witnessed Pizza Rat’s moment of infamy. “My friend Pat and I saw a rat dragging pizza down the subway stairs at 3 a.m.,” Little said. “If this woman [Zardulu] was involved, she’d have to have been one of the homeless people in the subway.” Strangely enough, Little and Baer are also members of UCB.

Yet another UCB actor, who remains anonymous, worked with Zardulu on similar stunts and says she told him she was training a rat. He thinks it’s the same talented rodent performing in the videos, so she’s (sadly) not commanding a group of them like some kind of Internet Willard.

He describes her work as creating “fake scenarios” that she releases through the news and social media. Zardulu does not take credit or capitalize on any of the stunts. I for one love a good practical joke for no reason.

Gothamist reached out to Zardulu, who did not deny her involvement in the videos. “I anticipated a betrayal, as I was threatened with such, but not from anyone with this email,” the artist wrote. “I think there are better stories to tell. Why wake the world from a beautiful dream when the waking world is all so drab?”

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Indeed. Let us dream. Keep them rat hoaxes coming.


Contact the author at marie.lodi@jezebel.com.