Charlie Sheen internship hoax by NI man Jonny Campbell

By Matthew Thompson
BBC News

image captionJonny Campbell claimed he had been chosen to work for internet sensation Charlie Sheen

A Belfast student has revealed his claim to be Charlie Sheen's new social media manager was an elaborate hoax.

Jonny Campbell made the announcement on Tuesday morning via Twitter, and speculation spread immediately around the social networking site.

He even managed to convince local media with his claims, featuring on Belfast radio station CityBeat and on local news programme UTV Live.

Mr Campbell confirmed the prank on his personal blog.

Mr Sheen's social media brand, Team Sheen, had announced plans for an eight-week internship last month, and received over 82,000 applicants.

The search for a winner was still thought to be under way, when on Tuesday morning Mr Campbell tweeted: "O-M-G! I just received an email to congratulate me for winning the internship with Team Sheen. #Winning!"

So-called 'hashtags' are used on Twitter to group together tweets relating to the same subject. Mr Sheen's catchphrases such as '#Winning' and '#Tigerblood' have become cult sensations in recent months following the star's rise to prominence on the site.

Mr Campbell, a graphic design student, also faked an email from Team Sheen confirming his selection, which he posted to his blog.

The announcement was picked up on by local media, and Mr Campbell was interviewed on both radio and television as the winning candidate on Tuesday night.

'Carefully orchestrated stunt'

However, the company running the search,, refused to confirm the claims, fuelling speculation that Mr Campbell was lying.

On Wednesday, it emerged that the whole affair had been a prank as Mr Campbell announced, again on his blog: "From the outset this has been a carefully orchestrated stunt and you're probably wondering why?".

He revealed that his video entry to the competition contained a hidden message, stating that "On March 29th I will lie and say @jonnycampbell won Charlie Sheen's Internship."

Comparing his deceit to the fictitious 'golden ticket' hoax in Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Mr Campbell said that the venture had been "absurd but wildly entertaining".

Mr Campbell explained that the aim of the competition was to demonstrate an ability to harness the power of social media, and it would be difficult to argue against his claim to have done just that.

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