Actress, comedian and talk show host Whoopi Goldberg Tuesday vowed legal action against the Underground Report for a story she says endangered her life.
But the satirist who penned the fake story, headlined, “Whoopi Goldgerg: Navy SEAL Widow was ‘Looking for Attention,’ “ said Goldberg should lighten up.
“The View” host said the story, which was published last week by the “mostly fictitious … news and political satire web publication,” said Goldberg had slammed Carryn Owens, the widow of Navy SEAL Ryan Owens, who died during an attack on a terrorist target in Yemen, for attending President Trump’s speech to Congress. The story, which has since been removed, said Goldberg had accused Owens of seeking “attention.”
Goldberg called the story a “horrible lie” that impacted her relationships with vets and their families. She said the story also had endangered the lives of her family and herself.
“I’m going to get my lawyer and I’m coming for you,” Goldberg threatened, saying the site’s disclaimer, which says it produces stories “not based in reality” is insufficient.
An ABC spokesman told the Associated Press Goldberg never said Owens “was just looking for attention” as the Underground Report story claimed.
James McDaniel, a professional hoaxer for the Underground Report, said in a post Tuesday on the site he doubts Goldberg or her family faced any real danger.
“Few people who didn’t already harbor negative feelings towards Goldberg believed the story, and how many people believe that such comments would lead an otherwise harmless person [at least to Goldberg] over the edge and push them to violence or murder,” he wrote.
“Many many false stories circulate about Goldberg, as they do with all celebrities of her caliber, why was I singled out. Was it the sheer size of the story, or the fact that I happen to be the one person who came out and revealed their identity after the nine day stint, which a person who was writing fake news solely for profit would never do.”
He said he started the site to see how many hits he could generate for the stuff he was making up, the site has turned into an experiment “with significant social and political consequences … and how they relate to confirmation bias and cognitive dissonance in individuals” who believed and spread his stories.
The day after he posted the Goldberg story, he posted one headlined, “Breaking: Satire Makes Fools of Gullible Trump Supporters.”
“I want to apologize to Goldberg and anyone else who may have been impacted by my recent stories about them, but I want them to understand that ultimately they were taking lumps for a greater cause, not just subject to the nihilistic whims of some sociopath in Costa Rica,” McDaniel wrote.
Goldberg was critical of Trump’s decision to approve the fatal raid that came barely a week after he was sworn into office and questioned whether his decision to give a shout out to Owens was a “tribute” or an attempt at “damage control.”
Owens received a standing ovation when Trump introduced her during his Feb. 28 speech to a joint session of Congress at the Capitol.