Zaida Pugh, 21, says she just wanted her message “spread across the world” when she brought live crickets and worms on a crowded New York City subway train.

Pugh pretended to be a deranged woman and brought 300 crickets and at least 200 worms in containers onto the D train, asking busy commuters if they would buy some.

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Witnesses say most people ignored her until a group of teen boys confronted her and smacked her critters flying into the air onto passengers, causing mass panic on the subway.

The boys also physically assaulted Pugh, punching and knocking her down. Pugh reportedly urinated on herself and attempted to vomit during the chaos.

After another passenger pulled the emergency brake, the train was stuck on the Manhattan Bridge for approximately half an hour while the MTA did an investigation. Pugh was taken for a psychiatric evaluation and then released.

Pugh says the bugs and worms were “amusement for the video,” and the entire stunt was meant to be a social experiment.

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But after publicly admitting the truth, Pugh was promptly arrested by the Brooklyn Warrant Squad. She will be charged with reckless endangerment. There is no word on whether there will be charges for the teens who assaulted her.


NYPD Chief Robert Boyce says that Pugh put people at risk with the stunt. Pugh posted a long apology video and says she regrets her actions.

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“The point of the video was to show how people react to homeless people, how people look down at them,” Pugh told Gothamist. “It was also to show how people are so fixated on recording stuff, instead of helping other people.”

“There are people that really hate me…probably want me dead,” said Pugh. “I don’t want that. That’s not the type of attention I wanted.”