Hoaxes can do harm

Stuff reports:

The video marketer behind the of the “pregnant” French tourist looking for her baby’s father says he doesn’t regret pretending she was distressed and suicidal.

A video of “Natalie Amyot”, whose real name is Alizee Michel, gained publicity around the world as she pleaded for help to find the Sunshine Coast man described as 180cm tall with blue eyes, blond hair and a tan.

Local social media marketer Andy Sellar was revealed as the mastermind behind the hoax on Wednesday, but not before the video had 870,000 YouTube views.

On Tuesday night, a Facebook page for Natalie Amyot included posts where she claimed to be crying and distressed. In one post she said she was suicidal.

It led to a torrent of responses from Facebook users, with a mixture of concern and abuse being dished out before the page was taken down.

Sellars confirmed it was him, and not Michel, who was controlling the account.

There are very clever hoaxes, and there are ones which are not. This is the latter.

Putting aside the wisdom of the hoax in the first place, this one was pretty appalling because Sellars lied constantly. As people queried the story on Facebook, he lashed out at them for not being sympathetic.

Most human beings are good natured and do respond well to people in distress. But when idiots like Sellars play on that empathy, for a hoax, then it does do harm. When someone really is in trouble, others will be more sceptical in future.

A fake suicidal pregnant girl is not a suitable hoax. He should be ashamed of himself, and his client should sack him.

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