Hoax blogger posts vile post

Times of Israel’s blog platform was infiltrated by a malicious imposter

The Blogs platform on the Times of Israel was breached in an elaborate manner by a malicious hoaxer who on Thursday posted a hateful and racist post.

This hoaxer, it turns out, had opened a blog on the website some weeks ago using the identity of Josh Bornstein, a respected Australian lawyer, appropriating Bornstein’s name, biography, photograph and taking steps to lend the blog credibility.

Times of Israel staff had no reason to suspect this was a hoax, also given that half a dozen posts were published on this blog in subsequent days, all on topic and perfectly reasonable. As we found out Thursday, these posts were taken from Bornstein’s articles elsewhere on the internet.

After establishing his credibility on The Blogs platform, the imposter Thursday published a blog post that was vile and disturbing in the extreme. Shortly after it was published, we removed this blog post and the entire blog, and began investigating what had transpired. The post had also been copied to an online archive with the obvious intent of causing maximum harm.

We are dismayed that The Times of Israel fell victim to such a malicious and hateful hoax. Needless to say, we are appalled that the Times of Israel’s blog platform was taken advantage of in this manner.

We sincerely apologize to everyone who was affected, directly or indirectly. Most especially, we apologize to Josh Bornstein.

We consulted with Bornstein in writing this article, and he asked us to make crystal clear that he had nothing whatsoever to do with this entire episode. “I deplore racism,” Bornstein stressed. “I’ve fought racism since I was four years old.”

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