The Associated Press published an important piece of journalism yesterday. “AP FACT CHECK: Man not hurt trying to show off ‘scuba bong,’” the headline read, and the story was just that—a fact check about a story claiming a man lost his nuts while showing off his scuba bong.
Unfortunately and mysteriously, the AP has since taken down the story, but the tweet promoting it remains.
AP FACT CHECK: A story that claims a Boston man lost his testicles in a 'scuba bong' blast is false. https://t.co/rpAlsOQvbH
— The Associated Press (@AP) January 25, 2017
The story in question was first published in September on a suspicious looking site called the IsThatLegit, with the story’s subject/victim living in Calgary. It later appeared on another suspect site called the Boston Leader, with Boston swapped in for Calgary. From the Boston story:
A 27-year old Boston local has suffered extensive injuries to his lower body after an unconventional attempt to ‘fill a scuba tank with weed smoke’ failed spectacularly last Thursday night. According to the testimony of several witnesses, Michael Fitzpatrick had consumed a copious quantity of alcohol before making the decision to demonstrate the home-made device.
“Mike’s a recreational diver,” commented one of the injured man’s friends. “For some time, he’s been tinkering with an old scuba tank that he’d bought cheaply from a dive shop. His plan was to use an air compressor to feed smoke into the tank, and then use a scuba regulator to inhale it.”
As you can see, it sounds like a story reverse engineered to be the perfect weird crime story, or hot mess, as we call it. It turns out that was pretty much the case.
The AP reported that Boston police said that “no such incidents were reported to them on that day.” Calgary police said they hadn’t heard of any “scuba bong” related incidents in at least five years.
Mashable notes that IsThisLegit features a warning that “for entertainment value only,” but there’s no similar warning on the Boston Leader. It’s unclear if the two sites share owners or are related in any way.
We can only guess why the AP decided to remove their post about the fake scuba bong testicle news, but we’re thankful for its brief existence.
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