Stone Mountain man creates ‘Gay Girl’ hoax

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imageThe blogger behind A Gay Girl in Damascus that captured global attention after she was reportedly kidnapped by Syrian security forces is actually a straight guy from metro Atlanta.

The saga of Amina Arraf — a lesbian who was half Syrian and half American — has been followed across the world for days as people who celebrated the lesbian’s passionate and intimate writings about the crackdown on anti-government protesters grew more concerned after her cousin posted that Arraf was arrested.

Turns out that all the posts were really written by Tom MacMaster (photo), a chubby 40-year-old married guy from Stone Mountain who is studying at the University of Edinburgh. You, like us and most other media outlets including the big boys at CNN and USA Today, have been punked.

After media outlets starting sniffing a fraud, MacMaster on Monday came clean with what else, a post on his blog titled, “A Hoax.”

Before I say anything else, I want to apologize to anyone I may have hurt or harmed in any way. I never meant to hurt anyone. I am really truly sorry and I feel awful about this. Words alone do not suffice to express how badly I feel about all this. I betrayed the trust of a great many people, the friendship that was honestly and openly offered to me, and played with the emotions of others unfairly. I have distracted the world’s attention from important issues of real people in real places. I have potentially compromised the safety of real people. I have helped lend credence to the lies of the regimes. I am sorry.

I have hurt people with whom I share a side and a struggle. That matters. I have hurt causes I believe in sincerely. That is wrong.

MacMaster was uncovered as a hoax by media outlets that traced purported emails from Arraf to servers at Edinburgh University in Scotland. A now-defunct Yahoo discussion group that was supposed to be run by Arraf was listed under an address in Stone Mountain and a home apparently owned by MacMaster and his wife, Britta Frolicker.

How did it all unfold? Here’s a timeline of the hoax.


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