CNBC sports reporter Darren Rovell is not exactly beloved by the Internet, maybe for his comments about the sad decline in the quality of Playboy Playmates or his super-awkward "proposal" to a teenaged Kate Upton while his pregnant wife hopefully was not watching at home.
The Internet has finally gotten its revenge on Rovell. According to the sports blog Deadspin, some high school kid called "Tim" last November decided he was going to have some fun with Rovell on the Tweets. Seems Rovell was trolling Twitter for some anecdotes to help fill a story idea he had about how the NBA lockout was affecting small businesses.
Tim posed as a pimp called "Henry James" and filled Rovell's email inbox with a bunch of numbers that made it seem like his prostitution business was down by 30 percent due to the lockout.
All of those numbers convinced Rovell that this person he'd met only on Twitter and in his email inbox was totally legit, so he went ahead and published the story.
For some reason Tim waited for several months to tell Deadspin the whole thing was a hoax, as evidenced by his email exchange with Rovell, triggering the delayed-reaction Internet bomb that blew up in Rovell's face on Wednesday.
Correction: Fabricated material originally included in this story has been removed.
Here's a screengrab, via Deadspin, of the key section of the original story.
Rovell today offered an "apology" to his readers and confessed to being duped. But he also suggested he was going to prevent future dupings by simply cutting down on his efforts to talk to real people:
The escort story made the cut because I thought it was different. As you can see in the published exchange I went back and forth with "Tim" in an attempt to ascertain whether his story was genuine. Feeling satisfied that the answers seemed real, we included it in the story.
He duped me. Shame on me. I apologize to my readers.
As a result I will do fewer stories on the real life impact of big events which I do think the public enjoys.
There will always be people out there who want their 15 minutes of fame and not really care how they get there.
We hope you feel appropriately ashamed of yourselves, "sources."