I laughed at the first one and cringed (and laughed) at the second. The first one reported a tale told by a one-time local boxer, Yusaf Mack, who said he was offered money via a Facebook message to do a porn scene in New York. Desperate for money, he accepted the offer and showed up at an address in the Bronx during the summer. He claimed there were naked women walking around. When the time came to start the scene, he said he needed a drink and someone gave him a shot of vodka and a pill. He claimed the next thing he could remember, he was on a train at 30th Street Station being awakened. He didn't remember getting on a train but did find $4,500.00 in a pocket.
Cut to October, when he says people were acting strangely around him, and finally someone told him about a clip online in which he was in a threesome with two men -- no women in sight. He denied it until he got a look at it. He said he had no memory of anything between the time he downed the shot and pill and when he woke up on the train. He aggressively said he was straight: "My whole life, I've been what they call a whoremonger. I love females...the only time I touch a man is when I'm in the ring fighting." He has ten kids and was engaged to a woman.
A week later, after the story went viral, the porn company denied drugging him and reports began to surface about there being possibly more than one scene with Mack and other men, he admitted he lied. He's gay, or bi, or something (his story changed a time or two just in the course of the followup interview), he admitted doing the scene because he was unemployed and need the money to help his ten kids and three grandkids. His fiancee reacted by leaving him. But hey, he got some assistance from one Anthony Cherry, who contacted Mack via Instagram and offered to represent him for free.
The article says Cherry is "a Los Angeles-based hairstylist/crisis public-relations manager" -- so hey, when he's done with Yusaf's PR he can work on the do!
Okay, it seemed fairly likely from the beginning that he wasn't telling the truth. That turned out to be the case. But what is more sad is the tone of the original article. The writer, Jenice Armstrong, seemed to go out of her way to help make the story seem plausible, using a gee-whiz tone that, I believe, belies her own experience as a writer. This portion, in particular, got to me:
But bizarre things can happen when you mix drugs, alcohol and illicit sex. I did some poking around online yesterday and someone pointed me in the direction of GHB (gamma-Hydroxybutyrate), a/k/a Liquid Ecstasy or Georgia Home Boy, a colorless and tasteless so-called party drug that has been known to lower users' inhibitions and also leave them with severe memory loss.
Could someone have slipped it or something similar into Mack's drink? I asked an expert if it was at all possible for him to do something out of character sexually and then forget it.
Of course, the expert said it was certainly possible. But we knew that already, didn't we? How many stories have we heard in the media about date rape? About sexual assaults where drugs and alcohol were involved? How many stories have we heard about women at parties or in bars having their drinks "roofied" by men they met? How many articles has Armstrong herself written about such stories? Hell, just in the last year she's written about Bill Cosby's attacks on women, hasn't she?
Her website says she has over two decades of journalism experience! And here she says she had to go online after hearing Mack's tale to learn about GHB? Come on.
I don't know what her agenda was in writing the story, but she ended up getting burned. Of course, a good portion of what she writes about is celebrity fluff, stories about clothes and hairstyles, local and national celebs, women's issues, African-American culture, and of course, she basically curates the annual Daily News Sexy Singles promotion. (Go search for my posts about that, why don't you?)
Journalism is so loosely defined nowadays.