The "Balloon Boy" story was full of helium hot air? Say it ain't so! Turns out young Falcon Heene was just hiding in a box in the attic because his parents, former Wife Swap reality TV morons Richard and Mayumi Heene, told him the family was pulling off a stunt "for a show." Now we can collectively despise and shame them for using their kid to get publicity (and causing lil' homie to vomit repeatedly when they put him in front of media vultures who grilled him) and feel less disgusted with ourselves for morbidly following the balloon flight live in the off chance that we'd see a dead boy pulled from wreckage.

Of course, Balloon Boy's parents weren't the first people to pull one over on us, then eventually get caught in their lies. Check out more sensational publicity hoaxes after the jump...


When: 2006
Hoax: Wannabe Brooklyn rapper Gravy, né Jamal Woolard, got shot in the ass by a "hater" outside the Hot97 studios before a Funkmaster Flex radio spot. He's so hood that he did the show immediately afterwards, even as his ass was leaking gravy.
Reality/Fallout: Police soon discovered that the shooter was one of Gravy's own boys who was upset that he wasn't allowed to sit in on the interview and Hot97 soon banned dude's records. We've seen skinemax flicks that are more hardcore than this fuckery.



When: 2008
Hoax: Author Margaret B. Jones, a.k.a. Margaret Seltzer, writes a memoir about her traumatic upbringing in a black foster home in South Central Los Angeles and following her black foster brothers into the gang life.
Reality/Fallout: After Margaret's sister read an article about her in The New York Times and immediately called Seltzer's publisher to out her, the author admitted the memoir was a fabrication. Girlfriend grew up in Sherman Oaks, Cali and went to private school. Tragically she hasn't been forced to go through an gang initiation beatdown for her fabrications.



When: Internet photos surfaced shortly after 9/11, 2001
Hoax: The photo was believed to be taken from a camera found in the WTC debris, depicting this tourist having his photo snapped as the first plane is flying into the tower, obviously killing him off in the process.
Reality/Fallout: The photo was originally shot in 1997 by a 25-year-old Hungarian man named Péter Guzli who initially edited the plane into the photo for a few friends, not realizing he'd become an internet celeb, and the "Where's Waldo?" of our generation.



When: 2005/06
Hoax: This "memoir" described author James Frey's battle with drug and alcohol addiction, and criminal record. The book was made famous when Oprah featured it in her Book Club selections and had Frey on the show to talk about his "struggles."
Reality/Fallout: After The Smoking Gun went hunting for a mug shot and couldn't find one—or any criminal record at all—shit started to fall apart for Frey. Real humiliation came when Oprah had him back on her show and spent a good part of the hour BLASTING him and his publisher for lying and basically making her look bad. Nobody but Empress Oprah and her Keebler elves are allowed to do that.



When: 1996-2005
Hoax: JT LeRoy became a famous author known for his dramatic life story of prostitution, drug addiction, and vagrancy in California, eventually doing public appearances and chillin' with the stars in huge blonde wigs and big sunglasses.
Reality/Fallout: LeRoy was actually American writer Laura Albert, and his public impersonator was Savannah Knoop, the half-sister of Albert's then partner, Geoffrey Knoop. In 2007, Albert was convicted of fraud for signing her character's name to legal documents. She may not have been a male prostitute, but she certainly fucked a lot of paying customers.