Did a man named Phil Robertson from Scranton in Pennsylvania get a brain transplant of a woman who died in a car accident and did he subsequently have five car crashes in two weeks? No, that's not true: the story was made up by a Canadian entertainment website that often posts fictional articles about weird crimes, bizarre sex acts or general oddities. None of it is real.
The story originated from an article published by World News Daily Report on November 29, 2018 titled "Man who had woman's brain transplanted has five car crashes in two weeks" (archived here) which opened:
A man who had his own brain replaced by a woman's brain in September during a groundbreaking medical procedure had five car accidents in less than two weeks since he was released from the hospital.
53-year old Phil Robertson from Scranton in Pennsylvania was miraculously saved from a brain cancer a few months ago by undergoing a successful brain transplant.
He received the brain of a 37-year old woman who had died in a car accident and the operation had unforeseen consequences for the poor man.
Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail and it would have looked like an actual news story:
A man who had his own brain replaced by a woman's brain in September during a groundbreaking medical procedure had five car accidents in less than two weeks since he was released from the hospital. 53-year old Phil Robertson from Scranton in Pennsylvania was miraculously saved from a brain cancer a
But no known brain transplants have ever been performed on humans. The man in the picture is an actual brain cancer survivor but his name is James Boysen from Texas and he was the lucky recipient of the first skull-scalp transplant:
The first skull and scalp transplant has been performed in a 15-hour operation, say doctors in the US. James Boysen, who is 55 and from Texas, was missing the whole of the crown of his head after treatment for a rare type of cancer. He was also given a new kidney and pancreas during the procedure.
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.
NewsGuard, a company that uses trained journalist to rank the reliability of websites, describes worldnewsdailyreport.com as:
A website that publishes hoaxes and made-up stories that are often widely shared and mistaken for news.
According to NewsGuard the site does not maintain basic standards of accuracy and accountability. Read their full assessment here.
We wrote about worldnewsdailyreport.com before, here are our most recent articles that mention the site:
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- Fake News: Man Did NOT Lose 200 Pounds in Six Months by Drinking Menstrual Blood
- Fake News: Trans-species Man Did NOT Identifies as Turkey & Does NOT Want to Ban Thanksgiving Day
- Fake News: Drug Dealer NOT Busted After Calling 911 to Report 150-lbs of Cocaine Stolen