Sometimes journalists really do pull stories out of their asses: Philadelphia writer A.J. Daulerio and former Gawker scribe Alex Balk are sounding the alarm on a succulent fish that causes some extremely undesirable and embarrassing side effects, namely hours of orange, uncontrollable anal leakage. It’s called escolar but it’s often sold under various assumed names like “butterfish”, “Hawaiian walu” or, when served raw, as “super white tuna” or “king tuna.” Whatever the name, the effects are often the same, as Daulerio himself divulged when he pitched the story via IM to Balk, now the executive editor for Radar online:

A.J.

: Have you ever heard of Hawaiian butterfish and the orange shits it causes some unsuspecting diners?
BALK: I have not, but I’m not surprised that this would be your pitch.
A.J.: Thank you.
A.J.: Anyway. So, I love this fish, greatest tasting fish I’ve ever eaten. I’ve had it a couple times in restaurants without any problems.
A.J.: This past weekend? I buy some at DiBruno brothers - very reputable Italian place — and take it home and cook it.
A.J.: Now, mind you, we had a couple of friends who had eaten some at a restaurant and talked about their uncontrollable orange-oily shits they got due to eating it.
A.J.: Nonsense!, I thought.
A.J.: So, I eat some this weekend.
A.J.: And, pow. I’m stricken. In fact, it is beyond all comprehension of what went on. I actually had to stuff napkins down my pants in the middle of Target because I was leaking so bad.
A.J.: So, I do some research, standard googling for, you know, “Butterfish + anal leakage”.
A.J.: Lots of people.
A.J.: Hundreds, even.
A.J.: So, I tell my co-worker about what happened. He passes it along to the local radio djs at WMMR here and they talk about it all day.
A.J.: Their phone lines lit up.
A.J.: So many horror stories about this Butterfish and the horrible orangey shit mess it’s caused for people.
A.J.: Yet? Still served in restaurants without any disclaimers or anything.
A.J.: And in stores.
BALK: You’re pitching me a story about a fish that makes you shit orange?
A.J.: I am. Yes, I am.
A.J.: I think the word needs to get out there.

Like it or not, it's out there, thanks to Daulerio’s thorough reportage, in which he quotes a chief of clinical gastroenterology at the University of Wisconsin, who explains that “escolar is laden with an overwhelming amount of wax esters.” So unless your partner has a serious Cleveland Steamer fetish you want to spice up for Valentine’s Day, consider yourself warned to stay the hell away from the stuff.

Apparently Aquagrill in SoHo has been known to serve this “ex-lax of fish.” And Eric Ripert of the high class seafood restaurant La Bernadin has it on the menu; there it's served as an appetizer in portions too small to cause any regrettable side-effects, or so he tells Eater. Ever try it?

Photo of tantalizing Oven-Baked Butterfish with Honey Mustard Sauce via Masak-Masak.