On Thursday, a rumor spread like wild fire that ESPN First Take Host Molly Qerim was busted cheating on her boyfriend, former NBA Star and ESPN analyst Jalen Rose. The video “evidence” and pictures were posted by Molly’s best friend to social media, then grabbed up by sites like MediaTakeOut.com and IndustryOnBlast.com. The sites then proceeded to create a story and a narrative about Molly that they blasted worldwide.
They had no facts or any information. Neither of the sites reached out to Qerim, neither reached out to her friend, or even Rose, to inquire if this story might be true. What they did instead was post a fabricated tall tale that sent the internet trolls into overdrive. On social media and chat rooms, Qerim was called every name in the book, her ethnicity and ethics dragged through the mud. By the time she even understood what was going on, she was being savaged on Twitter a mile a minute.
First let’s give you the real story of what happened:
Qerim was in Los Angeles with her colleagues to film First Take. She was in the lobby of her hotel with her best friend, who noticed a couple getting hot and heavy in the corner. Qerim’s friend slyly taped the couple, while Molly, seated next to her, protested. Then Qerim’s bestie posted the video with pics and the caption “get a room.” The two then headed off to church. End of story, nothing more to it.
But on Wednesday, the madness began when the alleged incident, the photos and video were posted by MediaTakeOut and IndustryOnBlast, with an attention-grabbing headline. Inside their copy, both sites insinuated that Qerim was a woman of loose morals and their readers gladly fell for it.
I talked to Molly and as you can imagine, her head was spinning; she was shocked and confused by the story and all the hateful words that were thrown her way. It simply did not happen; it was a complete and utter lie. I told Molly, welcome to the DARK SIDE.
Sites like MediaTakeOut and IndustryOnBlast make up stories; they literally make news, or let me put it this way: They are the definition of #FAKENEWS. They have no sources, no interviews, no connections in the legitimate entertainment world, so instead they create the news, which then creates clicks, and then creates revenue for their sites. But there are times where the truth prevails.
In October of last year, Kim Kardashian filed a libel lawsuit against MediaTakeOut.com, after they claimed she lied about being robbed in Paris. The lawsuit was eventually settled and the website apologized to Kim.
Playboy, Ice T, Evelyn Lozada are just a few of the folks who have sued the site. Clearly, there is trend here, and yet millions keep taking the bait. We cry foul every day when people create false scenarios and stories in the political arena, but we keep falling for the same kind of nonsense. It’s exhausting and confusing for those of us who try to do the right thing, but it is also dangerous because it’s a game that can have severe consequences. This time, it was easy to dispel the lie, but maybe not the next time. Meanwhile, this good woman, who has made her way to the top of her chosen profession, finds her name being smeared all over the internet, basically for entertainment purposes. We can all take a joke but this ain’t funny. MTO and others like it have proven once again that they have zero credibility.
I will promise you this: HipHollywood will continue to source stories and talk to the people involved. We will continue to chase legitimate news, not clicks, by posting bogus accounts. I’m hoping along the way that some of you will also apologize to Molly Qerim and Jalen Rose. Imagine what it was like for Jalen when he woke up to the news that his GF was making out with some guy in a crowded hotel lobby. #FAKENEWS #FAKESITES and all the #FAKESTORIES are getting really, really old.