Fake News: New Zealand Emu farmer NOT Arrested For Running Illegal Animal Brothel

Fact Check

  • by: Maarten Schenk
Fake News: New Zealand Emu farmer NOT Arrested For Running Illegal Animal Brothel

Were 63-year-old emu farmer Michael Wilson and his sons Phillip (38) and Andrew (34) arrested in Longbush, New Zealand for running an illegal animal brothel? Of course not: the whole story is a work of fiction that originated on a satire website.

It first appeared on March 27, 2018 on a website named World News Daily Report where it was titled "New Zealand: Emu farmer arrested for running illegal animal brothel" (archived here) and opened:

Longbush | New Zealand police have raided a family-operated emu farm in Carterton District suspected of operating as an illegal animal brothel.

Michael Wilson, 63, and his two sons Phillip, 38, and Andrew, 34, have been arrested and accused of illegally operating an animal brothel.

Twenty-six people were also arrested during the raid for their suspected involvement in sexually related activities with animals on the farm.

The man in the image used in the header of the story is not from Longbush and his name is not Michael Wilson. He is Stephen Schmidt from Coleyville (who does happen to be an actual emu farmer):

Farming for a cause

A SCATTERED stillness fills the air, broken by cicadas as rain clouds hug the mountain range - bearing down on Stephen Schmidt's Coleyville emu farm. "I don't reckon it'll rain," Stephen says as he walks toward the chick pen. "They're almost fox proof."

The police picture is from a drug raid in Canterbury, New Zealand:

Arrests after police raid Tribesmen MC properties looking for drugs

Three people have been arrested after police seized drugs, cash and guns during raids on several properties in Canterbury. The raids were part of an investigation into suspected dealing by Tribesmen Motorcycle gang members. Among the addresses was one police believed was a new base being set up by the Tribesmen in Ohoka.

And the supposed family lawyer mentioned in the story, an "Andrew Goldmann" is really a Las Vegas based lawyer named Alex Ghibaudo:

Las Vegas lawyer seeking redemption comes clean about troubled past

Las Vegas attorney Alex Ghibaudo knows prospective clients will Google his name and learn about his suspension. And he knows his peers have been talking about him behind his back, although no one wants to ask him about his past.

People who didn't know better might have suspected the story was a real news article if they saw it in isolation on social media:

New Zealand: Emu farmer arrested for running illegal animal brothel

Longbush | New Zealand police have raided a family-operated emu farm in Carterton District suspected of operating as an illegal animal brothel. Michael Wilson, 63, and his two sons Phillip, 38, and Andrew, 34, have been arrested and accused of illegally operating an animal brothel. Twenty-six pe

We frequently write about worldnewsdailyreport.com and their hoaxes, here is just the latest crop:

The website World News Daily Report is a well known satire website specialized in posting hoaxes and made up stories. The disclaimer on their website is pretty clear about that even though you have to scroll all the way down the page to find it:

World News Daily Report assumes all responsibility for the satirical nature of its articles and for the fictional nature of their content. All characters appearing in the articles in this website - even those based on real people - are entirely fictional and any resemblance between them and any person, living, dead or undead, is purely a miracle.

It is run by Janick Murray-Hall and Olivier Legault, who also run the satirical Journal de Mourréal, a satirical site spoofing the (real) Journal de Montéal. Very often their stories feature an image showing a random crazy mugshot found in a mugshot gallery on the internet or on a stock photo website superimposed over a background of flashing police lights or crime scene tape.

Articles from the site are frequently copied (sometimes even months or years later) by varous fake news websites that omit the satire disclaimer and present the information as real.

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  Maarten Schenk

Lead Stories co-founder Maarten Schenk is our resident expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.  He can often be found at conferences and events about fake news, disinformation and fact checking when he is not in his office in Belgium monitoring and tracking the latest fake article to go viral.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk

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