There’s a lot more to this story.
He’s definitely a victim but not of the sort that several media organizations seem to think.
An investigation by France24 discovered that images of the same man have appeared in numerous listings of terrorist attack fatalities in incidents including the Orlando shootings and last month’s EgyptAir crash. In fact, Gizmodo says his photo and description have appeared in at least three attacks this year alone, gaining mention in prominent publications including the New York Times and the BBC. And he’s not always the victim. During a June shooting in Mexico in which police officers fired at civilians, the man’s photo was widely circulated across social media with posters claiming he ordered the attack.
New York Times screenshot via France24
However, it turns out the man, whose real name France24 did not reveal, is very much alive. He claims to be the victim of an elaborate, ongoing prank but France24 says he may also be a scam artist who is suffering from a bit of revenge from those he ripped off – a number of individuals told the publication he has tricked them out of sums upwards of $1,000.
For his part, the man in question is a resident of Mexico who admitted he’s currently “embroiled in legal troubles,” according to Gizmodo. “My photo is everywhere because of someone who started it as a prank after a legal dispute,” he told France24.
Ironically, the man says he’s made several attempts to contact places like the BBC and the NYT to have them remove his images from these false news reports but that none of the organizations have returned his calls. He’s also basically thrown up his arms in surrender when it comes to pursuing any potential legal action against these alleged “prank” photo stunts, saying, “nothing ever happens in these kind of cases.”