Spoof website Newsbiscuit, Britain’s answer to The Onion, is facing a firestorm of criticism after its fake story on Mike Tyson’s sex change was reported as true in a number of African media outlets thus causing many traumatised fans to commit suicide.
Over 300 fans of Iron Mike killed themselves in Zimbabwe and Zambia alone, with many choosing to cut their ears off and bleed to death in a final symbolic gesture. Many suicide notes spoke of the despair that the ex Baddest Man on the Planet would now be reduced to the occasional bitch slap on reality cooking shows.
Suicide has not been the only reaction to the fake sex-change story. Thousands of fans cut off their penises in solidarity. ‘Michelle’ is now the most popular male name in Ghana. And Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe jumped on the bandwagon by announcing on TV ‘I too am a cunt’.
Conventional media outlets long lampooned by Newsbiscuit were quick to brand the incident the ‘stumble in the jungle’ and say what the website did was ‘beyond a joke’. The controversy has even spread as far as Australia with callers to radio stations quick to vent their fury that their DJs hadn’t thought of the spoof story first.
Newsbiscuit editor John O’Farrell has gone into hiding, but not before further alienating the public by first blaming his Uncle Bertie for the story, and then releasing a fake press release that he himself had committed suicide.
A now contrite O’Farrell promised to donate Newsbiscuit’s December advertising revenue to the families of the victims, which is expected to raise a total of £9.73 and a small quantity of Canadian Goose garments and fake Louis Vuitton sunglasses.