Last week’s story about a mother who agreed to let the public name her baby in exchange for $5,000 was an elaborate hoax, NBC's blog TODAY Moms has learned.
The woman who claimed she won a website’s online contest for moms willing to let others vote on a baby’s name was actually an actress, the blog TODAY Moms reported, “hired by the website’s founder to drum up publicity.”
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The TODAY blog attributed the confession to Natasha Lloyd, the actress who posed as contest winner Natasha Hill, and the owner of the website, Lacey Moler.
Last week, dozens of news outlets, including NBC4 and NBCLA.com, reported the story after Moler and Lloyd gave extremely detailed interviews about the contest and Lloyd’s apparently fictional baby.
The pair even emailed photos that they said were of the fictional mom, Natasha Hill.
TODAY Moms said some of the details used to trick reporters included:
• A claim that the baby was due in September
• Details about other baby names the mom was considering
• A long discussion with Moler about how she and her staff chose Hill (Lloyd) as the winner
• The false claim that 80 women entered the contest, with details about their essays and descriptions of what they would do with the money
The hoax began to unravel after TODAY Moms received a tip raising questions about the story’s veracity.