EWU student pranks the New York Times

SPOKANE, Wash. - An aspiring filmmaker at Eastern Washington University says he never meant to prank the New York Times when he posted a video online March 16th.

"Pawly P" says he wanted to make a clip that looked like he interrupted a woman's basketball game by playing a popular song from the 1980's.


The prank of drawing attention to the Rick Astley song "Never Gonna Give You Up" is known as Rickrolling-and it happened to be the topic of an article being written by a New York Times reporter last week.


The reporter tells KHQ-TV that her editor drew her attention to the online post, so she contacted Pawly.

The reporter used the apparent prank to inform readers the premise of the stunt-describing how, an Astley impersonator wandered through the gym and, "lip-synched and mugged to the music."

She continued to describe how, "Many older spectators looked, by turns, puzzled or irritated.  But the under-30 fans danced and sang," in an article published Monday, March 24th.


The problem-The women's basketball coach says Pawly never interrupted a timeout, the EWU Police Department says they are not aware of Pawly ever using the PA system and Pawly now admits that many of the fans seen dancing were not dancing to the 80's song.


Pawly says the whole thing was shot over several games and admits some of the fan reaction shots weren't in response to Astley, telling us the song played only briefly before one game.


Pawly says it was all clever editing to make a viewer think he had interrupted a timeout in the basketball game.


When questioned about apparently pranking the New York Times on a story about a prank, Pawly failed to see the irony.


"Did you prank the New York Times?" asked KHQ Local News Reporter Anthony Gomes.

Pawly's response:  "You could say that, uhhhhhhhh, you could say that."


Pawly says he never meant to mislead the Times reporter and isn't sure what happened when she called last week working on her story.


"I think it's great," he said. "I was able to put it together, make it look real, you know?"


The practice or Rickrolling started online-taking web users who clicked on an internet link to a different site, usually containing the Astley music video.  Pawly said he only hopes his video will take the practice to the next level and inspire others to actually interrupt sporting events.