The story could be found on every news and gossip site Friday morning: Angelina Jolie gave birth to the twins in France. Hours later, retractions were appearing and pages were vanishing. The world had the wool pulled over its eyes.
On Friday morning, Entertainment Tonight posted a story on its website and sent an e-mail alert to media outlets saying it had confirmed the birth of Jolie's twins. The news spread like wildfire. The announcement was also made on-air by the show later that day.
ET later revealed they were given the inside scoop via email by a person they thought was Jolie’s long-time assistant Holly Goline.
However, sources told the Associated Press, shortly after the story was posted and hours before the broadcast, Goline contacted the show and informed them they had not been corresponding with her but rather an imposter and the reports were false. The sources say there were several conversations Friday, by e-mail, text message and telephone, between Goline and ET.
In addition to denials from both Jolie’s and baby daddy Brad Pitt’s reps, other media outlets began to challenge the validity of the reports.
Nevertheless, ET host Mary Hart announced on air Friday night, "Just this morning, a source who says she was inside the delivery room tells us yes, the babies were born and yes, mother and babies are fine."
In a statement released Wednesday, a rep for the show said they were not aware of an imposter until they received a letter from Jolie’s attorney on Monday warning media outlets of the bogus employee.
"Entertainment Tonight takes this very seriously and is, of course, concerned that the show may have been victimized by someone allegedly posing as a member of Ms. Jolie's team," the statement said. "We are actively investigating the matter and are reaching out to law enforcement agencies."
According to an ET executive, one of the show’s producers obtained a Blackberry email address for Goline from a contact at CNN. The producer sent a message to the ersatz assistant, asking if the rumours that Jolie had given birth were true.
The reply was: “Yes she did. I was actually in the room with her. They are doing fine and so is mom.”
Goline has never had a Blackberry email account.