Man behind pregnant French girl video hoax unrepentant
A MOOLOOLABA real estate principal paid $700 for a hoax video of a pregnant French woman which went viral on social media.
But Nigel Lucas, from Mooloolaba Real Estate, is unapologetic at the mayhem the video clip caused since it aired on Tuesday.
The clip was of an attractive French tourist called Natalie Amyot calling for help to track down the father of her unborn child.
She claimed she had lost her phone with his details and had flown back to France the night after their brief, but passionate encounter.
News sites across the country aired the clip.
But the next day, Andrew Sellar from Sunny Coast Social Media admitted Natalie was actress and student Alizee Michel, and the clip was a hoax to promote Holiday Mooloolaba, part of Mooloolaba Real Estate.
Mr Lucas said he hoped the clip would bring an "extra 200,000 visitors to the Sunshine Coast per year".
He said he had "no idea what the backlash was".
Business leaders and people across the country and on the Daily's website broadly condemned the hoax.
But Mr Lucas said "people across the world" were talking about it.
He said he had also been invited by famous talk show host Ellen (DeGeneres) to appear on her program.
"Every show, even Fox News is running with it," he said.
Sunshine Coast Destination chief executive officer Simon Ambrose said the hoax was not the image the Sunshine Coast wanted to promote.
"It's always good fun to think of something different or quirky to market the region but when it's a malicious campaign like this, it's certainly not the sort of thing we condone," Mr Ambrose said.
The Sunshine Coast Community Board administrator was also not impressed.
"This is not the sort of thing we want," the administrator said.
"It can also take away the validity of people trying to get exposure for missing children, or something else, which won't be taken seriously.
"For him to do this purely as a marketing stunt is disgraceful."
Mr Sellar was well known in Britain for his advice on how to avoid paying loans.
He was listed as an author and speaker at Britain's Can't Pay Payday Loan website in 2011.
It is understood he moved to Australia with an Australian girlfriend last year, where he started working with Angry Frog website creator Aaron Belsham.
This relationship lasted only seven months.
"Andrew Sellar worked for us from October to May as a sales representative," Mr Belsham said.
"We restructured our business then we parted our ways."
Mr Sellar then started Sunny Coast Social Media and was hired by Mr Lucas to create the advert.
He could not be reached for comment yesterday.