Home Trending The strange saga of the ex-porn star and the fake sports columnist

The strange saga of the ex-porn star and the fake sports columnist

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Who is “Burt Gertson”?!?!
Image: Loop Images/UIG via Getty Images

If this is the future of sports media, folks, well good luck!

Welcome to the strange saga of the former porn star and the fake sports columnist.

Last we checked in on former porn star Mia Khalifa, she was putting a college football player on blast for sliding into her DMs. As good ol’ Wikipedia tells us, Khalifa is a “social media personality best known for her brief and successful career as a pornographic actress and adult model in 20142015.”

She’s also a sports fan, and now writes a weekly column in which she delivers a handful of takes for the site FanSided. What’s FanSided, you ask? It’s an online media startup focused of sports, lifestyle and entertainment topics through a network of smaller sites as well as its FanSided.com home page.

Time, Inc. bought the company last year. In a release touting the acquisition, Time, Inc. CEO Joe Ripp said it was “an investment in a modern content strategy” and praised the “entrepreneurial and agile FanSided leadership team.”

And this is where our story gets truly weird. No, scratch that this is where it gets pretty weird.

It gets truly weird a little later.

Khalifa recently started arguing on Twitter with a fellow FanSided writer named “Burt Gertson.” It all started when “Gertson” wrote a post in which he came to terms with sharing web space with Khalifa. That post mentioned “dick pills,” “firing Ping Pong balls out of her crotch” and reference to “a feverish kaleidoscope of sex acts Id only heard about in drunken passing, from Hindu store clerks eager to kill the wee-morning minutes.”

Good times. Anyway, here’s a small sampling of the ensuing Twitter discourse between Khalifa and “Gertson,” you can find more over at Awful Announcing.

Blah blah blah, et cetera et cetera. There are more tweets and more insults, but that’s the gist. What an odd situation!

So Andrew Bucholtz of Awful Announcing, a site that covers sports media, decided to look into it.

Who is this Gertson character, anyway?

Gertson’s FanSided bio features a photo of a shirtless middle-aged man and says he is a “54-year sportswriting veteran” who’s “worked for more papers than you have teeth,” including the New York Post.

Gertson’s bio also claimed experience at publications called The Murder Creek Crier and The Dirt Junction Bugle,but Bucholtz could find no record of either publication online.

Gertson, it sure seemed, was a fake persona, so Bucholtz emailed FanSided editor-in-chief Jim Cavan to learn more.

According to Bucholtz’s reporting, Cavan replied that “Burt Gertson is indeed a real person,” one who “runs his own account and writes his own columns.”

The site, Cavan said, “obviously didnt anticipate Burts column generating this level of fallout either internally or in the Twittersphere. However, weve handled the matter internally, and both Burt and Mia are eager to move on.”

So Gertson is real? Not exactly.

Awful Announcing published their summary of the alleged Khalifa vs. Gertson beef and Bucholtz’s subsequent email interview with Cavan, the FanSided editor-in-chief, insisting Gertson to be real.

Then the New York Post told Bucholtz this: No one at the Post Sports Department has ever heard of or worked with anyone named Burt Gertson. Appreciate you checking.

Shortly after that, FanSided admitted in a string of several tweets that Gertson is indeed fake. Here is the chain, which takes a rather pleading tone toward the end.

There is precedent for a fictional sports columnist working on the web; perhaps Gertson was meant to be a knockoff version of the popular and funny personality known as PFT Commenter. But fans and readers who pay even the slightest amount of attention are in on the PFT Commenter joke that’s why it’s fun. Conversely, FanSided oddly insisted on Gertson being a real person when asked by an actual, inquiring reporter.

But hey, it’s a #content jungle out there, folks. Survival requires #innovation, even for Time, Inc. companies. Like we said at the top: Good luck to all involved, ourselves included.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2016/09/30/fansided-mia-khalifa-burt-gertson/

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