This excellent question about the Smollett hoax right away reminded UD of another overdetermined hoax – a university one. And maybe in this overdetermined business there’s one small clue for us as we go about defending ourselves from hoaxers.

Seeking to destroy the faculty member who discovered his fraudulent credentials and research, West Virginia University epidemiology professor Anoop Shankar had an Indian friend go to this colleague’s office and …

“You Indians have nice brown skin,” [the colleague] allegedly said [to the student]. “But you smell weird with the spices that you use for cooking.”

Right about then the grey-haired professor supposedly pulled his chair closer and snatched at the young man’s penis.

[A second friend of Shankar’s, standing just outside the office,] claimed that from the hallway, he could then hear [the professor] rise from his chair and say loudly to [the young man], “Here, taste my white c–k.”

[The young man] said he fled rather than reciprocate and that [the professor] flew into a rage, his words echoing into the corridor: “I will destroy you!”

Allow UD to quote herself, starting with her post’s title:


When scripting these scenarios (one of the friends later confessed that Shankar had written and directed this drama), you need to be selective. Minimalism is more plausible than maximalism to most audiences. Deciding to throw in not merely an ethnic slur, but sexual harassment, and not merely sexual harassment but sexual assault, and not merely sexual assault but violent threat of retaliation, is just the sort of excess you’d expect from a sociopath.

Another example of piling on: The chief of staff at Upstate Medical College claimed

that he narrowly escaped a car bombing in Afghanistan… [that] he was hired by former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell to work in the State Department, that he was in the White House when the 9/11 terrorist attacks occurred in September 2001 and is close friends with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

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