Ms. Muffin: The creator of several viral 'prank' videos speaks out

african kings

You might have seen a video in your Facebook newsfeed earlier this month that was filmed via camera phone. An obviously pregnant young woman is arguing loudly with her boyfriend/father of her unborn child.

The fight gets physical and passengers intervene twice. One woman even takes off her coat and appears ready to shield the pregnant woman with her own body. The boyfriend ends up getting physically attacked by two young men on the train. The pregnant woman tries to pry the men away and begs them to leave her boyfriend alone.  Passengers plead with the woman to not go home with the boyfriend, but by the time the video ends, it appears that the couple exits the train together.

The video garnered thousands of views and a slew of comments on various social media platforms. Some people blamed the pregnant woman for her own predicament, some were disgusted by the boyfriend’s callousness and many praised the bravery of the couple’s fellow train passengers. A very interesting and diverse dialogue on domestic violence emerged. Just another crazy New York moment caught on camera, right? Not quite.

The video was a “prank” or at least that’s how the lead actress in that bit of public theater describes it. Her name is Zaida Pugh (a.k.a. Zaida Waters a.k.a Ms Muffin). Her website and YouTube channel make it clear that the videos are pranks, but most of the people passing along the videos and surely all of the unsuspecting members of the public in the videos, have no clue that the scenarios are not real. Pugh agreed to a phone interview with theGrui to talk about her video stunts.

Broaching serious issues through comedy

The domestic violence video is probably not the only one you’ve seen from Pugh. Do you recall the video of the “bad” little boy eating grapes in the grocery store and snatching the wig off of his mother’s head? That’s Pugh.

Or how about the one where a woman loudly proclaims on a train that she contracted AIDS from her ex-boyfriend? And then there’s the video from last summer of Pugh “giving birth” on the Coney Island boardwalk amid romantic drama.

Pugh says her stunts have a bigger purpose than just entertainment.

“Most of them are wake up calls for situations like that. That video of the pregnant girl was meant as a wake up call for women in domestic violence. I let them know that there is a way out. It shows what women go through. People go through real situations like that,” said Pugh.

Some of these topics have personal significance for the actor. “I’ve been through domestic violence. I married in July and it was a very rough marriage. It was very abusive,” said the 18-year-old mother. She said one incident involving her now three-year-old son is what ultimately gave her the courage to leave.

“I asked God for strength. You know, he would put his hands on me and one time, my son tried to stop it and he ended up getting hit. That was it for me. I don’t really have a family to reach out to like that, so it was scary. You stay in situations like that because you feel like you don’t have a choice,” said Pugh.