Gothamist is reporting that Zaida Pugh, who loosed crickets and worms on a car full of horrified subway riders in a stunt where she pretended to be mentally ill, has been criminally charged. Pugh also uploaded a Facebook Live video Tuesday morning where she apologized for the stunt and called herself “the most hated person in the world.”
The NYPD told Gothamist’s Rebecca Fishbein that Pugh has been charged with reckless endangerment for the incident, which happened in a D train over the weekend. Pugh was pretending to be a homeless, mentally ill woman trying to sell the critters when she faked a breakdown and threw them all over the place while screaming and beating herself in the head. Things went further awry when someone pulled the emergency brake in a panic, stranding everyone on the Manhattan bridge for half-an-hour in a car full of crickets, worms, and someone they believed was in urgent need of medical attention.
The video was deeply upsetting to watch, which speaks well of her acting skills, if not her judgment; she told Fusion the performance was meant to “show how people react to situations with homeless people and people with mental health. How they’re more likely to pull out their phone than help.”
Pugh’s Facebook live video shows her apparently in tears, apologizing in a soft voice for nearly 40 minutes:
The caption reads, in part:
Please watch before I remove everything ..I am very sorry as I say again for those who said I didn’t care even though know y’all all hate me and want the worst to happen to me I hope u atleast see this...and know that I could care less about being in the industry I just wanted my art and messages to spread across the world and people get my point of views..I wish I wasn’t the most hated person in the world but I am truly sorry and I doubt youll ever change how u feel but please hear me out and no it’s not the treats that made me post this cause I’ve felt like this from before.
Pugh also says in the video that she’s not going to post any more videos: “The people that want me dead and don’t care and, you know, that want the worst to happen to me, I’m gonna make you happy by just deleting everything. You won’t have to ever see any of my work or me post anything ever again.”
Reckless endangerment is typically a misdemeanor in New York and can carry a jail sentence of up to one year or probation of up to three years.