A few men masterfully pranked the media into believing a wild story that they got drunk in Cyprus and accidentally ended up bleary-eyed in war-torn Syria.
“Okay so we trolled the world…thank you media outlets you’ve made great victims…just goes to show how often people report without checking facts,” Lewis Ellis wrote in a Facebook post.
Lewis Ellis, Alex McCormick and James Wallman, all from the United Kingdom, told outlets they were partying Sunday in Cyprus and had booked a dolphin-watching boat for Monday morning as part of a vacation. The only problem with the plan is that they had partied all night and left the boat tickets back at their apartment. Instead of turning around, the three decided to head down to the port and sweet-talk their way onto another boat. It worked, but the boat soon ended up far off-shore and the men had no idea what was going on, as they were still recovering from the night’s previous degenerate adventures.
“Pretty soon Cyprus was just a dot so by this point we were royally f**king panicking and trying to explain to these guys that we’re on the wrong boat and they had to go back,” McCormick told The Lad Bible.
McCormick then added they eventually ended up in a port called Tartus in Syria, where they were picked up by the Russian military, which has a naval base there. After further adventures, the Russians kindly sent them back to Ayia Napa, Cyprus.
The only problem with the story is that it was a complete hoax, carefully staged with a series of halfway convincing selfies taken at each stage in the story to make it appear as though they started out on a boat and wound up in Syria.
So far, numerous outlets have run with the story without much fact-checking, which was the entire point of the troll operation. The Mirror, The Lad Bible, Express, Daily Star and others were all fooled into buying the story.
Had the media looked more closely, they would’ve seen Lewis Ellis runs a YouTube channel dedicated to pranks.
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