Hot Mugshot Guy Hoax: No $30K modeling contract!

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Jeremy Meeks' mugshot was released by the Stockton Police Department. It has since gone viral.

It was too good to check! So many media outlet fell hook, line and sinker for a fake story claiming that Jeremy Meeks, whose mugshot has gone viral this week, got a modeling contract, Gawker reported.

Gawker, which confessed it was among the outlets to wrongly state Blaze Modelz signed the jailed gang banger Meeks, listed 5 other outlets that were duped:

Meeks was arrested “during a joint law enforcement gang sweep” and was arraigned last month “on counts related to firearm possession, gang membership and probation violation,” according to CNN.

iMediaEthics found many more duped sites. They include:

TMZ was listed by many as a source for the claims. It even had published a 58-second video on its website “Jeremy Meeks Gets a Modeling Contract.” In the video, TMZ said, without sourcing, “Blaze Modelz, a huge modeling agency in LA, has offered Jeremy a contract.” Then, a group of what appears to be TMZ employees discuss how attractive Meeks is.

Meeks is a “convicted felon, arrested for felony weapon charges,” the Stockton Police Department’s Facebook says.



The bogus modeling contract was debunked by Bullett Media’s Luke O’Neil, who was told a Meeks spokesperson that “we haven’t even talked to Blaze Management at all.” The spokesperson wouldn’t give her last name.

Gawker said it also confirmed from that “Meeks representative” that Meeks hasn’t “been signed to any modeling agency.” And, iMediaEthics heard from GR Media Firm’s Brandi Snail, who told us “GR Media does represent Jeremy. And He does not have a modeling contract with Blaze Modelz.”

Gina Rodriguez of GR Media Firm is representing Meeks as his manager, USA Today reported. Rodriguez tweeted numerous times that the reports of Meeks signing with Blaze are bogus.



She tweeted July 2 that “more then [sic] half the news stories floating around are completely false.”





Huffington Post has Updated, but didn’t do independent fact checking?

iMediaEthics notes that Huffington Post already has corrected its story, posting a July 3 update to its story to reflect the error.

The Huffington Post headline now reads “Jeremy Meeks, ‘Hot Convict,’ Reportedly Didn’t Get Modeling Contract After All (UPDATE)”

The update posted atop the article says:

“UPDATE: Reports of Jeremy Meeks, an imprisoned felony suspect well-known for his looks, getting a modeling contract are untrue, according to Bullett. A representative from the talent agency working with Meeks told Bullett and later Gawker that Meeks hasn’t signed a modeling contract.”

Interestingly, the Huffington Post didn’t indicate any efforts of its own to independently fact check if the claims were false – just relying on Bullet Media and Gawker’s story.

iMediaEthics has reached out to Blaze Modelz to confirm that it has not offered Meeks any contract and for further comment.
UPDATE: 7/11/2014 4:56 PM EST Added info about Meeks’ charges

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Hot Mugshot Guy Hoax: No $30K modeling contract!

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