Australian kids magazine Total Girl has responded after publishing an interview with K-pop group BTS that never actually happened.
However, a spokesperson for BTS later confirmed to Buzzfeed News that the interview never actually took place. They also alleged it had been fabricated by the author Emma Coiler – a freelance journalist with virtually no online footprint.
Next Media, the publisher of Total Girl, has now provided Gizmodo Australia with an exclusive statement that also alleges that this interview from Coiler was fake.
“Unfortunately at this point it looks like Total Girl was supplied with a fabricated interview,” Next Media associate publisher, Dan Findlay, told Gizmodo Australia.
“We published it believing to be authentic, and it was supplied by a long-time stringer who we’ve never had prior reason to doubt.”
Coiler has previously has byline published in Conde Nast Traveller, OK! Magazine and various other reputable publications. She has also been accused of fabricating interviews with the likes of Chris Hemsworth and Rihanna previously, however, she has never responded to these allegations.
She supposedly did two different interviews with Chris Hemsworth, for two different publications, two years apart. Different questions: EXACT same answer pic.twitter.com/FZrZHA429k
— Jenna Guillaume (@JennaGuillaume) May 20, 2021
Jenna Guillaume, who first broke the story on Twitter, told Gizmodo Australia that she thought the interview was strange considering the band rarely does press in Australia.
“I thought the interview was strange as soon as I heard about it,” Guillaume told Gizmodo Australia.
“BTS members very rarely do individual interviews (typically only when they have solo work to promote — which is not the case here), and also the group hasn’t really done any Australian media in a few years.”
Guillaume also stated that Total Girl doesn’t appear to align with the current BTS media strategy.
“When I got my hands on the magazine and read the interview, it immediately raised red flags. Several of the answers felt outdated or inaccurate and just not really in line with what RM would say and has said in other interviews,” Guillaume said.
“When I tweeted about the interview, a lot of fans were just really excited to see he had spoken to Aussie media, but a few people raised concerns similar to mine.”
Guillaume began investigating Coiler and found that some of their previous celebrity interviews also seemed suspect.
“My friends and I found some random blog articles and RM fact compilations that matched up with some of the ‘answers’ in her Total Girl interview, which basically confirmed in my mind it had been cobbled together from information on the internet.”
Following the breaking of the story, Next Media has attempted to contact the writer for proof of the interview. However, they are yet to receive a response.
“We have attempted several times to obtain proof and information about the interview from the writer but they have not responded to that request,” Findlay told Gizmodo.
Next Media offered an apology to Total Girl readers and BTS fans, asserting that they would never knowingly publish a fake interview.
“We’re devastated that we’ve been duped and offer our sincere apologies to Total Girl readers and BTS fans – we would never knowingly publish anything fabricated or untrue.”
Gizmodo Australia has attempted to make contact with the author of the interview but, due to a lack of virtual footprint, we were unable to do so.