"Diane in 7A" Livetweet Hoax

"Diane in 7A" Livetweet Hoax

Part of a series on Livetweeting. [View Related Entries]

Updated Oct 01, 2014 at 12:45AM EDT by Brad.

Added Dec 03, 2013 at 06:57PM EST by Brad.

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Overview

“Diane in 7A” Hoax refers to a live-tweeted feud widely thought to have taken place on a Phoenix-bound flight between TV show producer Elan Gale and a middle-aged female passenger only identified as “Diane” on the Thanksgiving Day of 2013. Gale’s live-tweets, which included various quotes and photographs of hand-written notes attributed to “Diane,” instantly went viral on Twitter over the following weekend, though her identity was soon revealed to be an elaborate hoax staged by Gale.

Background

On November 28th, 2013, Elan Gale, a producer for ABC’s reality dating show The Bachelor, began tweeting[1] about a rowdy passenger on his homebound flight:




According to Gale’s account, he then “sent her” a glass of wine with a handwritten note criticizing her for being self-centered and causing nuance to others, triggering a back-and-forth exchange of passive-aggressive remarks between them (shown below, from left to right).



#1 Dear Lady in 7A,

It has come to my attention that today is your “Thanksgiving.” It must be hard to not be with your family! Please accept this glass of wine. It is a gift from me to you. Hopefully if you drink it, you won’t be able to use your mouth to talk!

Love, Elan
#2 Dear “Elan”

The wine wasn’t funny. The vodka wasn’t funny. You’re an awful person with no compassion. I’m sorry for your family that they should have to deal with you.

- Diane



To which Gale then responded:

#3 Dear “Diane,”

Thank you for your lovely note. The person who lacks compassion is you. We all want to get home, particularly the nice men and women who fly your lazy ass around and serve you drinks (you’re welcome!). Next time you’re in a bad mood, stay home. I hate you very much. Eat my dick.

Love,
“Elan”


#4 “Elan”

This is inappropriate beyond belief. I will be speaking to the authorities when we land.
#5 Dear “Dianne”

When you speak to the authorities, please make sure they arrest you for cannibalism because you just ate my dick!

Love,
Elan

After the plane landed in Phoenix, Arizona, Gale tweeted that the woman on the flight came up to him and slapped him, almost prompting an agent at the gate to call the police, to which he responded by handing her a final note to inform that their in-flight exchange had gone viral on Twitter.




Notable Developments

On Twitter

Gale’s live-tweeting operation instantly went viral as it happened, and in the following hours, his Twitter following skyrocketed by 140,000 people while his tweets racked up several thousands of retweets and favorites.[2] According to the Twitter analytics service Topsy[3], Gale’s handle @theyearofelan was mentioned more than 66,000 times and the hashtags #TeamElan and #DianeCanEatMyD were mentioned at least 9,900 times and 4,100 times, respectively. In addition, Gale’s tweets were also compiled into a Storify[4] article titled “This Man is Hilariously Live-Tweeting His Flight-And-Feud With The Woman in #7A,” accruing almost 5.5 million views in less than a week.



News Media Coverage

By 4 p.m. (ET), BuzzFeed[5] had picked up on the story in an article titled “This Epic Note-Passing War On A Delayed Flight Won Thanksgiving,” and throughout the rest of the day, Elan’s tweets continued to make rounds across many Internet news sites and mainstream news publications, including ABC[6] and The Huffington Post.[7]

Diane’s Rumored Cancer

On the following day, someone claiming to be a cousin of Diane came to her defense by posting a comment in the Storify article, which chastised Gale for harassing a stranger without knowing her circumstances and revealed a shocking detail that their reunion was going to be the last chance for Diane to spend time with the entire family due to her stage IV small cell lung cancer.

Diane is my cousin. I want to thank you for not pressing charges against her for slapping you. She would have been arrested for that, and spending a few days in jail would have been a particularly cruel irony under the circumstances. I am a bit surprised you said you could hear her breathing, because Diane has stage IV small cell lung cancer. This would have been her last Thanksgiving with us. I say “would have” because she did miss her connecting flight. She arrived this morning, having spent the night in a hotel in Phoenix. Admittedly, Diane hasn’t been handling her imminent death very well, but she really was looking forward to being with us and the rest of her family- all of whom were flying in for one last Thanksgiving with her.

In her defense, she was very contrite and upset about her behavior on the plane. Certainly everybody wanted to get where they were going, but perhaps she can be forgiven for thinking that her need was more pressing than most. Thanksgiving has always been Diane’s favorite holiday, and her comment about the stuffing is true- she was the “keeper of the family recipe” and all of her nieces were planning to be instructed (one more time) in the mysterious ways of Auntie Diane’s stuffing. Since she missed her connecting flight, this did not occur. We are going to try to get as many of the family together as we can tomorrow, but that is up in the air. The plans were all for yesterday. I wish you had known her before she got cancer. You would have loved her. She was bright, funny, and compassionate, and had a self-deprecating sense of humor. She taught elementary music. She loved kids. She loved to laugh. She was everybody’s favorite aunt. Actually, she still is.

Hoax Revealed

Then on December 2nd, Elan Gale tweeted a picture of an empty chair with the message “Here is Diana sitting in a chair,” an imagery that became closely associated with Manti Te’o’s non-existent girlfriend in January 2013, thus implying that the woman he tweeted about had been an elaborate scheme.




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