Anatomy of a Celeb-Twitter Identity Theft: @JonahHill_Jew Tells All
Yesterday, we posted a clip of Jonah Hill recounting for David Letterman an unfortunate tale of identity-theft via a mischief-making Twitter impostor. We mistakenly attributed it to the wrong fake Jonah Hill -- turns out the Funny People star attracts a large number of tweetalikes -- but a commenter directed us to the correct account, called JonahHill_Jew, and to the full confession of the man behind it.
Our first instinct was to recoil at the shamelessness on top of shamelessness -- not just hijacking someone's reputation for sport, but then putting his name and image online to gloat about the crime. As it turns out, he wasn't a "kid from Alaska," as Hill pictured him, but rather John of Arlington, TX, a guy who works in finance but is an aspiring "humorist" who wishes he "could do this for a living."
But reading through his account, we were struck by how shrewdly he played the fake-celebrity-Twitter game, and how easily real celeb Twitterers tumbled like dominoes for his charade. So, purely as a cautionary tale to other gullible celebrity Twitterers -- of which, as our current Tournament of Champions will attest, there is no shortage -- we'll run down the key moments in his timeline of crime.
· After choosing his handle -- which veered away from typical fake-handle terms like "RealX" and "OfficialY" and was just questionably offensive enough to be authentic -- he set about finding a photo that rang personal. He settled on this one of Jonah and Kanye West.
· June 10th: An early counterfeit tweet reads, "Random dude at the deli couple hours ago pitched me to redo GROUNDHOG DAY? A.) Why me? B.) Dude, that movie is sacred."
· Several days later: E!'s The Daily 10 reports the tweet as news.
· Emboldened by his success, JonahHill_Jew reaches out to his first celebrity Twitterer, starting modestly with comedian Doug Benson. Benson is suspicious of his claims that they'd met before Hill had become famous, and asks where it was that they met; some Googling on the impostor's part turned up a CD release where the two had indeed met before.
The impostor tweets back "Yer CD Release party bitch..." It's a bold gambit, but plays off. Benson retweets to others that this could be the real thing.
· Benson has 30,000 followers, and his stamp of legitimacy opens a floodgate of celebrity followers. Marlee Matlin is one of them, and tweets that she loved Hill in Superbad. JonahHill_Jew replies, "How funny could it of been when you can't hear it?" (*Cringe*) He claims he suspected Matlin was a fake herself. She wasn't. Which makes him either a total asshole, or a Seth MacFarlane-caliber comedian, or both.
· Nia Vardalos follows. "It was surreal," he writes. "The screenwriter of the most successful independent film of all time was talking to me about her days waitressing at a comedy club." Big fat Greek shivers run up and down his spine.
· Then the fateful moment when the real Jon Favreau accepts Hill as his tweeting equal. JonahHill_Jew tweets, "I'm totally trying to impress @Jon_Favreau by flying my personal 'copter over the IRON MAN 2 set." Favreau responds, "Is that why half a sandwich fell out of the sky." (Hill is overweight, and Favreau was thereby engaging in the popular celeb à celeb tweeting ritual known as light hazing.)
Fake Jonah replies with something good-natured about it being a meatball sub. He insists he never, as Hill claimed on Letterman, sent mean-spirited tweets to the director.
· June 18: Favreau tweets that the real Jonah Hill told him that JonahHill_Jew was not him.
· Hill tells The Daily 10 all his accounts and tweets are fake, including the one about the deli that they reported as fact. He adds, "I find it a little anti-Semitic that I would be hanging out in a bagel store."
John from Arlington then denies being anti-Semitic, and explains that all he hoped from to gain from the deception was that a "laid back kind of comedian/celebrity, would actually like the FAKE Twitter. I fantasized that I would be contacted and asked to keep the tweets going or collaborate with him on a project. What can I say? Fame, even Pseudo fame, clouds the mind."
Basically, the guy hoped that the plot of Funny People would play out in his own life, except instead of being discovered in a small comedy club, he'd be discovered for his hilarious lying efforts on Twitter.
Way to wish cancer on Jonah Hill, Jew-hating John from Arlington.
· My Name Was Jonah [thejohnblog.net]