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Hoax Alert

Fake News: Former Russian Spy Did NOT Claims Putin Poisoned Him With 'Gay Hormones'

  • by: Maarten Schenk
  • (Tue, 20 Mar 2018 14:07:38 Z)

Was a second former Russian spy by the name of Igor Viktorovich Prokhorov poisened using a mercury-based endocrine disruptor that turned him gay? And was Vladimir Putin behind it? Stranger things have happend but this story is fake. The hoax originated on a Canadian satirical website (which may explain the spelling of "Putin" as "Poutine" in the original headline).

The article was published on March 19, 2018 by World News Daily Report under the headline "Former Russian spy claims Poutine poisoned him with 'gay hormones'" (archived here) and opened:

London | A second former Russian spy has been hospitalized this week after suffering acute symptoms of mercury poisoning.
Igor Viktorovich Prokhorov, 66, called an ambulance after suffering from a seizure and was found unconscious in his house on Sunday.

Prokhorov who has worked as a double agent for Britain for over 30 years had recently defected to the UK after he feared for his life.

The former spy believes he has been poisoned by Moscow with a mercury-based endocrine disruptor which was meant to make him develop 'homosexual tendencies'.

The man shown in the picture that went with the story is actually Michael Sorenson, 63, a man who was hospitalized after being burned by scalding water poured over him by a roommate in a group home. He is not Russian and (probably) not a spy.

Screenshot of http://worldnewsdailyreport.com/former-russian-spy-claims-poutine-poisoned-him-with-gay-hormones/

When people saw the post on social media all they got to see was this little summary, so they may well have thought it was real:

Former Russian spy claims Poutine poisoned him with 'gay hormones'

London | A second former Russian spy has been hospitalized this week after suffering acute symptoms of mercury poisoning. Igor Viktorovich Prokhorov, 66, called an ambulance after suffering from a seizure and was found unconscious in his house on Sunday. Prokhorov who has worked as a double agen

The website World News Daily Report is a well known satire website specialized in posting hoaxes and made up stories. The disclaimer on their website is pretty clear about that even though you have to scroll all the way down the page to find it:

World News Daily Report assumes all responsibility for the satirical nature of its articles and for the fictional nature of their content. All characters appearing in the articles in this website - even those based on real people - are entirely fictional and any resemblance between them and any person, living, dead or undead, is purely a miracle.

It is run by Janick Murray-Hall and Olivier Legault, who also run the satirical Journal de Mourréal, a satirical site spoofing the (real) Journal de Montéal. Very often their stories feature an image showing a random crazy mugshot found in a mugshot gallery on the internet or on a stock photo website superimposed over a background of flashing police lights or crime scene tape.

Articles from the site are frequently copied (sometimes even months or years later) by varous fake news websites that omit the satire disclaimer and present the information as real.

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About the author:

Maarten Schenk is our resident expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.  He can often be found at conferences and events about fake news, disinformation and fact checking when he is not in his office in Belgium monitoring and tracking the latest fake article to go viral.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk
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