Daily Beast Falls For Hoax; Tina Brown Duped By Sneaky Canadian Claiming to Be Project Runway Contestant

Barely a thousand hours old and The Daily Beast, already has its own mini scandal.

According to a Smoking Gun post headlined Tina Brown In Beastly Hoax, Tina Brown and Barry Diller’s Web site ran an article that purported to show concept drawings for Michelle Obama’s inaugural gown by Project Runway contestants last week.

The only problem: One of the drawings contributed was fake, a prank done by a Canadian musician named Jay McCarrol mistakenly contacted by the reporter, Hailey Eber, who thought she was emailing with Jay McCarroll, one of the design show’s breakout stars. Mr. McCarrol, who is not a fashion designer, had a friend do some sketches which he sent Ms. Eber, in a prank that calls to mind The Baffler‘s Great Grunge Hoax from 1992, in which a shop owner invented hilariously fake ‘grunge’ terms which ran as part of a New York Times‘ article by Rick Marin. The lexicon featured the immortal—and frankly, still viable—phrase, “bloated bag of bloatation,” which supposedly meant “drunk.”

Looking at Messrs. McCarroll and McCarrol’s Web sites, The Smoking Gun points out:

The musician’s site, though, offered plenty of clues that it was not the home of the flamboyant clothing designer. McCarrol’s site makes no mention of fashion or “Project Runway.” It includes McCarrol’s biography, MP3 downloads of a few songs, the cover of his self-titled CD, and information about film scores he has done. A photo of the musician can even be found on the Contact page, from which Eber sent her initial note.

The story, which was originally slated to run in Radar (where Ms. Eber worked as an editor until the magazine closed in October) has been partially removed from The Daily Beast.


The Smoking Gun quoted Ms. Brown as saying, “Oh, my God… We’ll have to correct that.”