Q: Is it possible to explain [the Sarah Phillips] situation in one paragraph? I’d prefer not to read through pages of material, but I am curious as to what is going on.
— ScottKimberly, via the BTB Forum
A: Sure thing, Scott. That’s a tough task, and it’ll certainly take more than one paragraph for such a ridiculously complex story, but here goes…
Sarah J. Phillips was a message board poster at Covers who eventually got hired — without anything approaching a background check, of course — to write weekly columns for the “industry leader.” Her first column for Covers came only a few months before her first column for ESPN’s Page 2.
Yeah, that’s right. Phillips was hired to write for ESPN despite the Worldwide Leader never formally interviewing her, either.
Shortly after, a curious BTB Forum member posed this question about Phillips, and immediately many BTB readers concluded Phillips was a fraud.
Turns out, she was a fraud, and BTB tried to inform people of that via Twitter on New Year’s Eve.
Months passed, and Phillips tried to increase her platform by continuing to write for ESPN’s Page 2 — recently renamed “The Playbook.”
Then, on Tuesday, Deadspin unleashed this bombshell on the many Sarah Phillips scam tactics.
Within an hour, ESPN ended its relationship with Phillips.
Twitter exploded, of course, and soon “Sarah Phillips” was trending nationally.
Phillips took a few moments to recover, but eventually decided to take the role of a sympathetic, unknowing girl who got caught up with the wrong crowd in a semi-apologetic Twitter rant.
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More stories came out, like this one from Aaron Nilsen, who claimed that Phillips scammed him out of his Twitter account by promising to pay him for helping her increase her follower count. Deadspin provided more details on how Phillips — and her cohort, Nilesh Prasad — swindled people out of their popular social media accounts to increase exposure and drive traffic to their new website, the Sports Comedy Network.
And a few brave souls in Oregon decided to stop by Phillips’ apartment to see if she’d answer a knock at the front door.
I’m sure more will come. I’ll certainly have more to offer.
But until then, I hope this summed everything up all right.