Miley Cyrus is not to blame for dangerous twerking video, Jimmy Kimmel is

10 Sep 2013

Still from 'Jimmy Kimmel Reveals "Worst Twerk Fail EVER - Girl Catches Fire" Prank' via Jimmy Kimmel Live/YouTube

The recent viral hit ‘Worst Twerk Fail EVER’ sparked off much debate, as viewers questioned whether or not the fiery incident was truly an accident caught on camera or an orchestrated attempt at internet stardom. In an unexpected twist, it turns out US late-night chat-show host Jimmy Kimmel was behind the viral sensation.

The video – which even made it into our weekly round-up of viral videos – has amassed more than 9.5m views on YouTube since it was uploaded on 3 September and will no doubt be above 10m before the week (or even the day) is out.

In the description, a YouTuber by the name of Caitlin Heller claims, “I tried making a sexy twerk video for my boyfriend and things got a little too hot :)”. You can see just what went wrong with the lethal cocktail of upside-down twerking and exposed candlelight in the original video below.


The truth is, the fire-starting twerker is actually professional stunt performer Daphne Avalon and the entire video was produced as an experiment by Kimmel, host of Jimmy Kimmel Live.

The big reveal came last Friday night when Avalon, in the guise of Caitlin Heller, was invited to appear on the chat show. Apparently chatting with Heller in Kansas City over Skype, Kimmel asked why the clip cuts off so suddenly – the cause of many claims against the video’s veracity.

It was then revealed that the fictional Heller’s bedroom was in fact backstage at Jimmy Kimmel Live and a ‘director’s cut’ of the video showed Kimmel showing up to quell the flames.


Kimmel then explained that the video was shot two months ago (before ‘twerk’ made it into the Oxford Dictionaries Online and pop star Miley Cyrus made the act famous on stage at the MTV Video Music Awards) and, with no promotion from the show’s host, managed to rise to internet infamy and was even picked up by a number of news outlets.

Kimmel’s hot and hilarious experiment shows just how easy it is to fake your way to the top with the help of YouTube and legions of viewers. The man himself is no stranger to the viral nature of the internet. Segments from the ABC chat show are regularly uploaded to its YouTube channel, which receives thousands of views each week, and Kimmel has received plenty of internet attention for videos documenting his long-running ‘feud’ with actor Matt Damon.

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.