It is unclear why Akinchenko didn't just set his camera up in front of an actual fire, of which there was plenty to go around. Meanwhile, the police began investigating his baffling antics as a potential case of arson. (The word "potential" is being used liberally here, as Akinchenko readily admitted to recklessly setting something on fire, which is the literal definition of arson.)
Interviewer Pulls Heroically Baffling Celebrity Anecdotes Out Of His Ass
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As we've been discussing, journalists with a mind full of fabrication generally take the path of least resistance when it comes to faking stories. However, that can't be said for Tom Kummer, a journalist whose fake celebrity interviews are works of art.
Instead of writing imaginary celebrity interviews full of softball "how was making your movie"-type questions that he might have been able to get away with, Kummer decided to go one step further and invent entire pseudo-philosophical conversations with celebrities, including Bruce Willis, Pamela Anderson, and Courtney Love, all of which have them spout utterly bizarre statements -- the kind you'd typically only hear waiting in line to use the bathroom at a rave. According to some of Kummer's utterly fake, never-really-happened interviews, Mike Tyson is well-versed in the writings of Nietzsche, Bruce Willis believes morality is an outdated social construct, and Pamela Anderson is a huge fan of the famed cyberpunk science-fiction novel Neuromancer.
"I found how no one called the drug-addicted hacker guy 'babe' particularly inspiring."
The weird thing is that the interviews were great, which is what happens when you get to make up the most interesting possible answers to your questions. If given complete reign over celebrities, we'd wind up writing about how Christian Ricci has a paralyzing phobia of the theme song to the '90s X-Men cartoon, so you almost have to admire the fact that Kummer wasn't out to make any of his alleged interview subjects look ridiculous.
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The part where he made a movie to profit off of disgracing his entire industry? Slightly less admirable.
However, people generally don't enjoy having words put into their mouths, even if those words are kind of flattering. After several of the celebrities Kummer supposedly interviewed complained that they had no memory of ever making those statements, to Kummer or anyone else, the scam was revealed and Kummer was fired (although whether it's possible to be fired from a job you've never truly performed is an entirely different discussion). In his own defense, Kummer argued that his work was "borderline journalism," and as such he didn't need to be constrained by things like "the truth" and "actually conducting interviews." As it stands, Kummer's version of journalism lies somewhere between fanfiction and a letter from Santa Claus.
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