How I Became Fake News: Roy Moore, a Hoax Story and Me
Recently, to my surprise, I woke up to a bizarre article on Facebook linked to my name. The headline read, “Second Roy Moore accuser works for Michelle Obama right now!” The story was incoherent at best, but I was able to get the gist of it: According to this account, Fiona Dourif, an actress on “Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency” and the "Chucky" movies — that's me — had accused Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore of sexual harassment. This is not true; I have not accused Roy Moore of anything. Nevertheless, the article claimed "my" accusation was verifiable fake news.
The story begins:
Liberals sure are afraid of Roy Moore. Not only did they push a woman in front of the cameras to cry and lie about some stuff that allegedly happened 35 years ago she's just now remembering to mention (we refuse to repeat the salacious allegations because they are 100% verifiable fake news) but when the fake 14-year-old didn't work for them, the Democrat Party did something even worse: they doubled down on the story, introduced a new actress, and had her tell an even more horrible lie.
Fiona Dourif says she was 11 years old when Moore "groped her in the alley behind the" church they both attended in 1957. "It was the most horrifying moment of my life," she told MSNBC's Rachel Maddow on Friday night. She then described the series of events that allegedly happened, including the obviously false allegation that he baited her into the alley with candy. "Roy Moore definitely did all of those things and more," she said looking into the camera, dry-eyed.”
The article included a picture of a person they claimed was Fiona Dourif, that was actually a photo of University of Alabama law professor Joyce White Vance. Yet, my acting credits were listed correctly. Then the article claimed I am also Michelle Obama's former housekeeper:
This (housekeeping) information was uncovered by Gateway Pundit’s Charles C. Johnson, who notes in his report that "Dourif is paid extremely well according to public documents, which report a $250,783.33 annual salary for Dourif."
If this sounds confusing, it's because it is. The article's claim is that Fiona Dourif is an actress, somehow also Michelle Obama's housekeeper, and is lying about 60-year-old allegations of sexual harassment by Roy Moore.
To be perfectly clear, I have never worked for Michelle Obama (I wish), met Roy Moore or Rachel Maddow, nor was I alive in 1957. I am, however, the actress Fiona Dourif.
The next day the article, along with the website LastLineOfDefense.org, disappeared. [Editor's Note: As of publication, LastLineofDefense.online is still operational, as is a Facebook page promoting the site's work.]
It took an afternoon of research to figure out what happened. Apparently my career as a housekeeper and Roy Moore accuser was created by Christopher Blair, some dude in Maine who describes himself on his Facebook profile as a “paid liberal troll.” He runs America's Last Line of Defense and several other faux right-wing sites designed to fool conservative voters into sharing stupid stories on Facebook. His fictional posts are accompanied by an elaborate disclaimer, but are often picked up and shared without any mention of it. Amy Sherman of Politifact has done excellent research into Blair and how he is incentivized by social media to create fake news. "I discovered Facebook following plus blog plus ads equals income," Blair told Politifact in May.
In the end, there is little anyone he chooses to write about can do to disassociate themselves. Though the original article has been removed, several publications trying to expose fake news now appear linked to my name in search results, with headlines like “Second Roy Moore accuser did not work for Michelle Obama” and “Second Roy Moore Accuser is Fake News.” At first glance, these articles are of little help: Did Fiona Dourif accuse Roy Moore? Does she simply not work for the Obamas? I would prefer headlines like “total nonsense goes viral created by some random dude in Maine who is improperly incentivized by social media.”
Just a suggestion.
As for now, it seems I will have to get used to being the subject of fake news about fake news. I'll let my grandmother know everything is OK with me; it's America that's gone awry.