Did one of the guards (named Arturus Tubolls) that was supposed to watch Jeffrey Epstein mysteriously vanish? No, that's not true: the story was published by a liberal satire website that tries to fool Trump supporters and Republicans into sharing made up stories that are clearly marked as satire when you actually click them. Articles from the site are frequently copied by foreign-run fake news websites. The people liking and sharing these stories are enriching foreign website operators (or a liberal from Maine) via the ad revenue generated with the content which is probably not what they expected or wanted.
The story originated from an article published by BustaTroll.org on August 11, 2019 titled "Guard Watching Epstein Has Mysteriously Vanished" (archived here) which opened:
The Federal Bureau of Prisons is refusing to divulge the whereabouts of Arturus Tubolls, the prison guard who was supposed to be checking in on Jeffrey Epstein the night he allegedly killed himself. "Art," as his friends call him, hasn't been seen at work or at home since the incident, prompting some to be concerned for his well-being.
The Department of Prisons says that Tubolls was supposed to have the weekend off and that there's a good chance he's just out tying one on, but our own interior investigation has uncovered some interesting facts:
Art Tubolls has at one time or another:
- Liked a post by Hillary Clinton
- Called President Trump a 'little dicked Lord Cheeto'
- Shared stories from liberal troll sites that satirize and humiliate conservatives
- Had a tinder profile under the name 'PotugeseBF8748'
- Admitted to approving of socialized medicine
- Defended the Musselman Brotherhood as a "peaceful organization'
Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail:
Guard Watching Epstein Has Mysteriously Vanished
The truth is right there in front of you.
The story was posted in the category "Ridiculous Satirical Conspiracy Theories" and "Art Tubolls" is an anagram for "Busta Troll", the nickname of the man running the site. For some weird reason the story is illustrated with a picture of MMA fighter Igor Zinoviev:
Pechanga's Muay Thai card is AXS TV's 300th show for combat sports
Mixed martial arts legend Pat Miletich will be the analyst Friday of AXS TV's 300th combat sports broadcast when the network airs "Lion Fight Muay Thai 25" at the Pechanga Resort Casino in Temecula.
The site is part of the "America's Last Line of Defense" network of satire websites run byself-professed liberal troll Christopher Blair from Maine along with a loose confederation of friends and allies. Blair has been in a feud with fact checking website Snopes for some time now and has also criticized other fact checkers in the past who labeled his work "fake news" instead of satire. In reaction to this he has recently rebranded all his active websites and Facebook pages so they carry extremely visible disclaimers everywhere.
Every site in the network has an about page that reads (in part):
Before you complain and decide satire is synonymous with "comedy":
The use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people's stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.
Everything on this website is fiction. It is not a lie and it is not fake news because it is not real. If you believe that it is real, you should have your head examined. Any similarities between this site's pure fantasy and actual people, places, and events are purely coincidental and all images should be considered altered and satirical. See above if you're still having an issue with that satire thing.
Articles from Blair's sites frequently get copied by "real" fake news sites who often omit the satire disclaimer and any other hints the stories are fake. Blair has tried to get these sites shut down in the past but new ones keep cropping up.
Here is a video of Blair explaining how his process works:
If you are interested in learning more about Blair and the history of his sites, here is something to get you started:
The Ultimate Christopher Blair and America's Last Line of Defense Reading List | Lead Stories
STORY UPDATED: check for updates below. Yesterday Eli Saslow at the Washington Post wrote a fantastic article about Christopher Blair, a man from Maine who has been trolling conservatives and Trump supporters online for years and occasionally even made a living out of it.
If you see one of his stories on a site that does not contain a satire disclaimer, assume it is fake news. If you do see the satire disclaimer it is of course also fake news.
NewsGuard, a company that uses trained journalist to rank the reliability of websites, describes bustatroll.org as:
A site that publishes false stories and hoaxes that are often mistaken for real news, part of a network named America's Last Line of Defense run by hoax perpetrator Christopher Blair.
According to NewsGuard the site does not maintain basic standards of accuracy and accountability. Read their full assessment here.
We wrote about bustatroll.org before, here are our most recent articles that mention the site:
- Fake News: Kamala Harris Did NOT Say 'After We Impeach, We Round Up The Trump Supporters'
- Fake News: Nancy Pelosi's Church Did NOT Ask Her To Leave Until She 'Finds God and Gets Help'
- Fake News: Pelosi Did NOT Stop Bill to Make English the Official Language of the U.S.
- Fake News: Michael Jordan Did NOT Leave 'Kaepernick's Nike', Did NOT Take Air Jordans With Him
- Fake News: Michael Jordan Did NOT Rip Up His Democrat Party Card