The 'Gay Girl in Damascus' Hoax, and Why So Many Fell For It

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Tom MacMaster apologizes for his six year impersonation of the "Gay Girl in Damascus" in his post from the blog of the same name.

Tom MacMaster, a 40-year-old American man living in Scotland admitted that he was behind the "Gay Girl in Damascus" blog, which, for the past six years provided thousands of persecuted gay people with hope – particularly in the Middle East. The blog was supposedly written by a woman Amina Arraf, who, according to the blog, was kidnapped last week. In response, the international media went on high alert. But within days, it became clear that Amina Arraf, was in fact, not a lesbian, not Syrian, and not even a woman. How did MacMaster manage to dupe so many?

Liz Henry is the web producer for the website BlogHer and has participated in panels on fictional online identities. Initially a supporter of the "Gay Girl in Damascus" blog, she became one of the first members of the media to suspect the site was a hoax last week.

 

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