Keith McNally Claims Rodent Seen on Video at His Iconic N.Y.C. Restaurant Balthazar Was a 'Setup'

McNally's response comes after a clip documented what he called a mouse running around the establishment's bar

<p>Instagram/keithmcnallynyc; Paul Frangipane/Bloomberg via Getty</p> Keith McNally, Balthazar in New York City

Instagram/keithmcnallynyc; Paul Frangipane/Bloomberg via Getty

Keith McNally, Balthazar in New York City

After a video showed a rodent inside the iconic New York City restaurant Balthazar, owner Keith McNally is calling the incident a "setup."

McNally, a New York restaurateur behind the establishment in Soho, was the subject of criticism on Instagram this week when a customer posted a clip of what she called a "rat" running around the eatery's bar.

In the clip, customers pointed at the rodent as it scurried around, before multiple employees attempted to catch it with a dustpan and, at one point, a napkin.

The footage ended on a cliffhanger, as customers raised their legs above the floor of the establishment to avoid any encounters with the uninvited guest.

"Rats found in Balthazar NYC in the dining room tonight…can’t imagine what the kitchen is like," Michelle Manning Barish captioned the post. "Absolutely 'REVOLTING' @keithmcnallynyc."

<p>Paul Frangipane/Bloomberg via Getty</p> Balthazar in New York City in April 2021

Paul Frangipane/Bloomberg via Getty

Balthazar in New York City in April 2021

Related: Rat Urine Causing Rise in Cases of Flu-Like Illness in NYC: 'It's a Real Problem'

Shortly after the upload, McNally shared a response in the video's comment section on Friday, April 19, claiming that the incident was the product of a "suspicious-looking" man who entered his restaurant with a bag of mice.

"A suspicious-looking man of about 40 came and sat nervously at Balthazar's bar last night around 8:30," McNally wrote. "After paying for one drink he suddenly left very quickly leaving an upturned bag which 5 white domesticated mice ran out from."

McNally added that "one of the bartenders who noticed the whole episode ran after the man, but failed to catch him."

"The five domesticated white mice were quickly caught. The entire episode was a SETUP," McNally claimed. "I just feel sorry that the 5 domesticated white mice were exploited this way."

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.

<p>Instagram/keithmcnallynyc</p> Keith McNally poses for an Instagram photo


Keith McNally poses for an Instagram photo

While some patrons commented that the rodent did not appear to be a white mouse, McNally provided the same statement to Page Six, adding that the woman who recorded the footage "seemed to have knowledge that the incident was about to happen" due to her proximity to the situation.

An assistant for McNally did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment on Saturday, April 20.

As McNally explained to Page Six, the customer was "standing suspiciously close to where the incident happened with her iPhone ready to take photos."

Sources told the outlet that the footage was filmed on April 18.

For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!

Read the original article on People.