Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Meet the Prankster Brothers Behind "Jenny," the Whiteboard-Using, Farmville-Exposing, HPOA Girl

Yesterday, everyone on the Internet loved Steve Slater, the Jet Blue flight attendant who quit his job by cursing out his passengers and bolting out of his plane using the emergency slide.

Today, our favorite job quitter is “Jenny”–”a girl” who left her job by sending co-workers a series of photos where she uses a whiteboard to insult her boss and expose his fondness for Farmville.

We know that the Steve Slater story is true. But what about Jenny’s story?

Almost certainly made up.

The story showed up this morning on theChive.com, a dude-centric site run by brothers John and Leo Resig, who own a series of photo/humor sites. (That’s Leo on the left.) Before that, the Resigs ran a site called Derober, which features doctored photos of celebrities in their underwear.

And Derober’s moment in the spotlight came back in December 2007, when it made up a story about Donald Trump leaving a $10,000 tip on a $82.27 bill. The story was convincing enough to fool Fox News and the New York Post (both of which are owned by News Corp., which also owns this site).

So Jenny is a fake, too. Right, Leo Resig?

No, Resig says over the phone. “Jenny’s very real.”

Really? Really, Resig says.

He says Jenny is with his brother John at this very moment, and that the three of them are trying to figure out the best way to identify her and tell her story.

Jay Leno wants Jenny on his show, Leo Resig says. “Good Morning America” wants her, too. He’s not sure the best way to proceed, because “we’re trying to be respectful of that girl.”

But don’t worry, Leo says. The brothers plan on identifying Jenny “tomorrow morning around 10 am. We’re not exactly sure who or how we’re going to release it. Obviously it will be on thechive.com as well.”

Okay. But you’re the same guys who gave us the Donald Trump story, and that was fake. Is this one different?

Pause. “Good homework. That was a good time.”

Ah. So is Jenny’s story real, then? “This one is to be determined. People are kind of making up their own stories.”

We go on this vein for a bit. Since Leo won’t tell me the story is real, and the Trump story definitely wasn’t, I’ll assume that this one is make-believe, too. “If you want to assume that, you can. We have a track record.”

True!

Another thing about the Resigs that is true: Their site has a real audience.

The brothers claim their four related sites–theChive, theBerry, theBrigade and theThrottle–gather a monthly audience of 5.6 million uniques. And comscore (SCOR) says theChive, the only site big enough to register on its radar, has 1.3 million uniques. Given the vagaries of Internet measurement–the brothers say their data comes from Google (GOOG) Analytics–it’s possible that their numbers are at least truthy.

So good for the brothers, I guess, for proving yet again that people will believe anything they see on the Internet.

But Jay Leno’s bookers may want to hold off.

UPDATE: After I published my story, Leo Resig emailed this comment, which he says he wants attributed to both brothers (I double-checked with him before I published): “Although we like Jack Daniels whiskey, we prefer Jim Beam because bourbon is better.”

The Resig brothers also take credit for a more recent prank, this one published on TheChive itself in 2009. From the site’s “about” page:

theCHIVE is responsible for the Hoax that a teenage girl accidentally texted her dad she lost her virginity on the beach. The internet meme spread like wildfire on the internet and was discussed (as a true story) on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The View, The Today Show, Chelsea Lately, and Brietbart TV. See the clips here:


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Nobody was excited about paying top dollar for a movie about WikiLeaks. A film about the origins of Pets.com would have done better.

— Gitesh Pandya of BoxOfficeGuru.com comments on the dreadful opening weekend box office numbers for “The Fifth Estate.”