A part of me wasn’t surprised this morning to discover the ‘lesbian’ ‘Syrian’ pro-democracy blogger supposedly ‘abducted’ by ‘security forces’ last week was actually a 40 year old American man called Tom MacMaster living in Scotland.

What a fake

My Twitter feed this morning was full of vitriol and disappointment about this imposter Tom MacMaster who provoked support from many posing online as ‘A Gay Girl in Damascus’ blog. His posting as the girl’s ‘cousin’ reporting she’d been ‘abducted’ fooled sincere journalists and gained attention. Now it’s revealed as a hoax.

His mealy-mouthed ‘apology to readers’ is worth a read and to sample the outrage check Twitter trend #Amina Tom MacMaster — why would we believe anything you say? Shades of the fantasy life of ‘Facebook predator’ Natalia Burgess )

These are sleazy moves by Tom MacMaster, in my opinion. This liar-in-denial constructed and used this Amina ‘alias’ or alter-ego for years, communicating with people and organisations, misappropriating hundreds of photos from other people to bolster and buttress Amina’s profile (sound familiar?) then when confronted, he denied it. Typical.

In telephone interviews and e-mail exchanges with The [Washington] Post over the past three days, MacMaster initially denied any connection to Amina. He insisted he had never heard of her or the blog before the news of the arrest broke.

“Look, if I was the genius who had pulled this off, I would say, ‘Yeah,’ and write a book,” he said Friday, reached in Istanbul, where he is vacationing with his wife, a graduate student working on a PhD in international relations.

News organizations around the world, including The Washington Post, reported on the blogger’s disappearance Tuesday. As the story spread, three Syrian sources contacted Andy Carvin of NPR with their doubts; he, in turn, asked the more than 48,000 people who follow him on Twitter whether anyone had met Amina or spoken to her on the phone. None said they had.

— Washington Post: ‘A Gay Girl in Damascus’ comes clean

Best wry comment I saw on Twitter was:

Will Yamato sums it up.

NPR coverage: here and here

I personally wouldn’t hire this guy Tom MacMaster or put him in any position of trust. I wouldn’t trust him to buy my lunch.
– P