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Hoax: True Identity Of Lesbian Syrian Blogger Revealed

Skeptics had recently become suspicious of the “A Gay Girl in Damascus” blog and the existence of its author, allegedly a 35-year-old lesbian living in Syria. Today it was revealed that the whole thing is indeed a big hoax.

The site is written a by 40-year-old man from Georgia currently living in Scotland. The man, Tom MacMaster, published a new blog post today titled "Apology to readers":

Tom I never expected this level of attention. While the narrative voıce may have been fictional, the facts on thıs blog are true and not mısleading as to the situation on the ground. I do not believe that I have harmed anyone -- I feel that I have created an important voice for issues that I feel strongly about.

I only hope that people pay as much attention to the people of the Middle East and their struggles in thıs year of revolutions. The events there are beıng shaped by the people living them on a daily basis. I have only tried to illuminate them for a western audience.

This experience has sadly only confirmed my feelings regarding the often superficial coverage of the Middle East and the pervasiveness of new forms of liberal Orientalism.

However, I have been deeply touched by the reactions of readers.

The Washington Post had questioned MacMaster about the identity of the Syrian girl (the pseudonym he came up with was Amina Arraf) as early as four days ago. The Post reports:

In telephone interviews and e-mail exchanges with The Post over the past three days, MacMaster initially denied any connection to Amina. He insisted he had never heard of her before the news of the arrest and that he had been unaware of the blog. “Look, if I was the genius who had pulled this off, I would say, ‘Yeah,’ and write a book.”

MacMaster responded to a question from "Electronic Intifada" saying that he will soon further explain his actions with members of the media: "Yes. We will be doing a first interview with a journalist of our choice in 12-24 hours. After that, we may consider other media."

The blog Lez Get Real had posted entries created by MacMaster to their site over the last few months, the whole time believing they had indeed been written by a lesbian named Amina Arraf. Lez Get Real's staff issued an angry response directed at MacMaster for intentionally deceiving them:

"And you have the unmitigated arrogance to think you can issue an apology to YOUR readers and not to us. You have put us through a week of hell – calling in favors to rescue someone who doesn’t exist and losing us the support of people who were working with us for American rights. You have damaged your own cause, with people all over the world fighting over which fanatics you represent. What you did was stupid, irresponsible and unworthy of the people you claim to care about."

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Comments

  1. "Scotland, England"????? Somebody needs a geography lesson!!!!!

    Posted by: Bobby | Jun 12, 2011 7:36:30 PM


  2. LOL, so, is this going to be used as evidence of a gay agenda? homosexuality as western import?

    I'm beyond thrilled with this.

    I also LOLed at the Scotland, England.

    Posted by: O HERRO | Jun 12, 2011 7:40:36 PM


  3. I smell a media coup that will end in US policy this, Zionism that, blah blah blah blame the Jews. Anything to draw attention away from how Arabs treat non-imaginary LGBT people.

    If "Electronic Intifadah" doesn't tip anyone off...

    Posted by: Max | Jun 12, 2011 7:42:23 PM


  4. People using the tragedy of the Syrian situation are beneath contempt. How can people be that self-serving?

    Posted by: princely54 | Jun 12, 2011 7:46:07 PM


  5. This angers me.

    The addressing the real plight of oppressed LGBT people in Arab countries may be shortchanged by this hoax, however well intentioned.

    I think he could have gotten just as much mileage by putting "fictionalized" on the blog in the first place.

    Posted by: brenda | Jun 12, 2011 7:54:38 PM


  6. The only reason I find this mildly ok is that the "missing" woman was never missing at all. I was praying for her and her family... Well, at least "she" is ok.

    Posted by: Craig | Jun 12, 2011 8:36:38 PM


  7. Could this fat fool's passport be revoked, please? He needs to just go throw himself into the nearest Scottish bog.

    Posted by: MacroT | Jun 12, 2011 8:46:29 PM


  8. leave the guy alone. he had good intentions. no doubt this will bring some more attention to arab hate towards lgbt

    Posted by: Trey | Jun 12, 2011 8:51:23 PM


  9. You have to wonder about the people who run Lez Get Real. Don't they check their sources? They come across as amateur fools.

    Posted by: adam | Jun 12, 2011 9:23:05 PM


  10. This kind of thing only makes me more indifferent to human suffering. Way to go, Tom MacMaster. Proud of yourself?

    Posted by: Rodney Wollam | Jun 12, 2011 9:31:37 PM


  11. Good intentions, Trey? He faked people out, which makes it MUCH HARDER, not easier, for people to care about the situation he was fictionalizing. Try saying you've been raped then coming forward later to say it was all just to call attention to the problem. It does not help anyone. He's sick and deserves nothing but scorn.

    Posted by: Matthew Rettenmund | Jun 12, 2011 9:34:25 PM


  12. @Matthew Rettenmund

    Amen

    Posted by: O HERRO | Jun 12, 2011 9:47:56 PM


  13. Unreal. I'm speechless, actually. And no, I'm not interested in getting his reasons plastered all over the news.

    Posted by: Suffern ACE | Jun 12, 2011 10:43:01 PM


  14. This doesn't "help" anyone or anything but Tom MacMasters. It was a terrible, selfish thing to do.

    The whole point of "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" is when something really did happen the villagers believed it was another lie and didn't pay attention. Rather than drawing attention to a dire situation, MacMasters has insured that when something does happen and immediate action is needed, people will instead approach it with caution and skepticism, afraid of being burned by yet another blogger out to make his or her name.

    Posted by: Codswallop | Jun 13, 2011 9:39:46 AM


  15. MANY similar examples of fraud exist. MANY so-called 'hate' crimes, even, are faked [for attention.]

    Posted by: ratbastard | Jun 13, 2011 11:54:25 AM


  16. Disturbing on so many levels. What a creep.

    Posted by: Ryan | Jun 13, 2011 2:14:09 PM


  17. this is so wrong...

    Posted by: jake | Jun 13, 2011 7:10:24 PM


  18. Unfortunatly, this is not the only internet news that is phoney, nor is it going to be the last.

    Posted by: Jerry6 | Jun 13, 2011 9:17:15 PM


  19. I never expected this level of attention, MacMaster wrote. While the narrative voice may have been fictional, the facts on this blog are true and not misleading as to the situation on the ground.

    Posted by: Blogging For Profit | Jun 14, 2011 3:28:01 AM


  20. this incident will not the the last thing for sure

    Posted by: Protecting Your Identity | Jun 20, 2011 5:28:44 AM


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