For much of recorded history, the Rickroll has been used for good (or, at the very least, in good spirits). The Foo Fighters trolled Westboro Baptist Church with it, a Super Mario Maker wizard inserted it into the game to great amusement, and a Penn State professor employed it to teach his conniving students a lesson.
But now it appears that Rickrolling—the art of making a victim unwittingly click a link to Rick Astley’s 1987 hit “Never Gonna Give You Up” in audio and/or video form—has an evil side.
As WLOS reported, one or more jokesters placed fake parking tickets on cars in Asheville, North Carolina late last week. Each ticket had a QR code printed on it, which, once scanned, led the recipient to … well, you can probably guess where this is going:
Yet the city of Asheville isn’t laughing.
“It causes us extra work, causes aggravation for our citizens, and I really think somebody’s doing it for a prank,” said Harry Brown, the city’s parking services manager, told WLOS.
Yes, that’s true. Somebody is doing it for a prank, and it’s caused significant confusion. Some have tried to pay the $100 fine (the city’s normal fine is $10). The fake ticket is also physically larger than the one normally issued by Asheville’s workers, and the city’s legit tickets don’t feature QR codes.
So the hunt is on for a prankster who, to be fair, is simply trying to bring Rick Astley into the lives of the uninitiated. (One Asheville official said he had never heard of Astley and also called him a “rock star,” thereby proving that he was telling the truth.)
But whatever his intentions, the police may charge him with a very serious violation: littering.