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Hoax Alert

Fake News: Man Did NOT Have Woman's Brain Transplanted and Did NOT Have Five Car Crashes in Two Weeks

  • by: Maarten Schenk
  • (Thu, 29 Nov 2018 20:35:49 Z)

Did a man named Phil Robertson from Scranton in Pennsylvania get a brain transplant of a woman who died in a car accident and did he subsequently have five car crashes in two weeks? No, that's not true: the story was made up by a Canadian entertainment website that often posts fictional articles about weird crimes, bizarre sex acts or general oddities. None of it is real.

The story originated from an article published by World News Daily Report on November 29, 2018 titled "Man who had woman's brain transplanted has five car crashes in two weeks" (archived here) which opened:

A man who had his own brain replaced by a woman's brain in September during a groundbreaking medical procedure had five car accidents in less than two weeks since he was released from the hospital.

53-year old Phil Robertson from Scranton in Pennsylvania was miraculously saved from a brain cancer a few months ago by undergoing a successful brain transplant.

He received the brain of a 37-year old woman who had died in a car accident and the operation had unforeseen consequences for the poor man.

Screenshot of https://worldnewsdailyreport.com/brain-transplant-car-crashes/

Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail and it would have looked like an actual news story:

Man who had woman's brain transplanted has five car crashes in two weeks

A man who had his own brain replaced by a woman's brain in September during a groundbreaking medical procedure had five car accidents in less than two weeks since he was released from the hospital. 53-year old Phil Robertson from Scranton in Pennsylvania was miraculously saved from a brain cancer a

But no known brain transplants have ever been performed on humans. The man in the picture is an actual brain cancer survivor but his name is James Boysen from Texas and he was the lucky recipient of the first skull-scalp transplant:

Man has first skull-scalp transplant

The first skull and scalp transplant has been performed in a 15-hour operation, say doctors in the US. James Boysen, who is 55 and from Texas, was missing the whole of the crown of his head after treatment for a rare type of cancer. He was also given a new kidney and pancreas during the procedure.

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.

NewsGuard, a company that uses trained journalist to rank the reliability of websites, describes worldnewsdailyreport.com as:

A website that publishes hoaxes and made-up stories that are often widely shared and mistaken for news.

According to NewsGuard the site does not maintain basic standards of accuracy and accountability. Read their full assessment here.

We wrote about worldnewsdailyreport.com before, here are our most recent articles that mention the site:

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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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Lead Stories uses the Trendolizer™ engine to detect the most trending stories from known fake news, satire and prank websites and tries to debunk them as fast as possible. Read more about how we work and how we select stories to check here.

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