Besides making average people walking down Hollywood Boulevard look like idiots, Jimmy Kimmel’s other favorite target is the news media. And on Thursday night’s show, he showed once again how he’d duped news and sports media outlets into running a story about a possible wolf wandering the halls of the Olympic village in Sochi, Russia.
Using the Twitter account of U.S. Olympic luger Kate Hansen, Kimmel’s team sent out a link to a YouTube video of what appeared to be a very large wolf wandering the halls outside Hansen’s room. All the tweet said was, “Wolf in my hall?!?”
Well, it wasn’t her hall at all, but a replica of the Olympic village constructed on the set of “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” The wolf was a timberwolf mix named Rugby, hired in Southern California. And the story and video got covered extensively, including local newscasts, NBC’s “Today” show and CNN.
To prove that the video was a fake, Kimmel showed the full video, which included the segment previously tweeted, but ended with Kimmel skiing down the hall calling out for his wolf named Garfield.
This isn’t the first time Kimmel has pranked the media. Last fall, he released a video supposedly showing a girl catching herself on fire after attempting to twerk like Miley Cyrus. Just like the wolf video, media outlets picked up and ran with the story without trying to find out if it was true. (It wasn’t).
While Kimmel’s repeated media pranks don’t seem to have had much fallout here in the States, Hansen told Kimmel that the video caused quite a commotion in Sochi, where the media have previously reported on the number of stray dogs wandering the streets of the town as the Games began.
“Honestly, there was a little more backlash than I thought there would be,” Hansen said via Skype from Russia.
She continued, “Security started freaking out because technically it was a breach in athlete safety. It kind of went a little crazy over here.”
Now, the question remains if all the news outlets who reported on the video will correct the error.
Hansen ranked 10th in the women’s singles luge competition. No gold for her, but at least she had some fun along the way.