BROOKLYN — A self-described Brooklyn artist whose social media stunt prompted panic on a crowded subway train when she unleashed crickets and bugs could face reckless endangerment charges, sources told DNAinfo New York.
Zaida Pugh, 21, admitted that she set out to create a viral video to heighten awareness of homelessness when she boarded a D train last Wednesday dressed in an aqua-colored onsie and bizarrely released a swarm of 600 crickets and worms, sending disgusted and frightened passengers running.
Pugh said she “wanted to do a video of what the homeless people go through and how we look at them,” CBS New York reported on Aug. 27.
At least one of her friends also participated in the stunt, and may also face charges, sources added.
Pugh's one-act began when she entered the train claiming to be selling the bugs then started screaming and hit her head when another rider pushed her away as the train lumbered over the Manhattan Bridge.
One rider pulled the emergency brake on the train mid-bridge, stranding straphangers in the train with the woman and the bugs for about a half hour.
"You can't yell 'fire' in crowded theaters, and you can't pull stunts that cause harm to people and stop subways and inconvenience thousands of people," a law enforcement official explained, adding that the NYPD and prosecutors were weighing their options.
During the subway lockdown, Pugh even relieved herself in the subway car.
She was eventually taken off by police at the DeKalb Avenue station and taken to Methodist Hospital for a psychiatric evaluation.
Pugh went on the say to that she felt bad for causing a panic.
“I feel sorry with some things, like how it went,” she told CBS. “I didn’t want it to go so drastic.”
The actress also posted on Facebook that she was in part motivated to challenge people’s apathy.
Pugh did not return a message seeking comment.
“Shaking my head the world we live in today is just sad,” Pugh posted on Aug. 26. “People would rather record than help or if they do help its at the last minute or not even at all.”