Media outlets including The Washington Post and the Toronto Sun appear to have been duped last week into reporting a fake poll that listed Britney Spears as the ultimate gay icon above other favorites including Lady Gaga.
The Broward Palm Beach New Times reports on the stunt, which was uncovered by Jason Parsley of South Florida Gay News. Suspicious of the results, the reporter tracked the source of the poll to an Examiner.com article by Fernando Palazzo.
“The poll was allegedly conducted by an organization Palazzo called ‘Orange County's Equality Project,’” reports the New Times. “In his digging, Parsley found no evidence of an organization with that exact name; a similarly named organization had no knowledge of the poll, nor of the spokesperson with whom Palazzo claimed to have spoken, Joel Waddell. In the Examiner article, the (fictional?) Waddell was quoted: ‘Britney Spears is a genuine gay icon. She is sincere in her affection for us, and doesn't need to exploit us as a marketing like some other current Madonna-like icon.’”
That icon, of course, is Lady Gaga, who has been trashed by the same Waddell in at least three stories by Palazzo.
According to South Florida Gay News, Waddell operates a blog called Orange County Equality Project. Palazzo admitted that Waddell tricked him, but The Washington Post, among the outlets that reported on the poll as if it were real, has yet to make a statement.