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David Rose, Author Of “Dave On Wheels”, Revealed As A Fake

October 16, 2012

This is a guest post by Matthew Smith. Thanks to Matthew.

Back in August, a blog was set up titled “Dave on Wheels”, purportedly

by a young disabled man called David Rose living in a nursing home in

California. The man was profoundly deaf and had severe cerebral palsy,

communicating through a Tobii speech aid using eye-gaze input. David

Rose had a sister, Nichole Rose, and apparently “David” was so severely

disabled that all his entries were in fact published by her.

 

A couple of weeks ago, “David” purportedly went down with pneumonia and

was taken into hospital. The last entry published, last Thursday (11th

Oct), was one that “David” had written and given to his sister to

publish in the event of his death. The entry told of three friends he

had known who had had that type of pneumonia and died of it, including a

girl he had known when aged 10. The blog built up a substantial

following by people who found Rose’s story and personality inspiring;

however, a website that had taken to him, called The Chive, became

suspicious when attempts to contact Nichole came to nothing and one of

the Chive’s contributors received an email pointing out that the picture

of “David Rose” actually belonged to another disabled man named Hunter

Dunn (and was lifted from the Tobii AAC company’s own website –

http://www.tobii.com/en/assistive-technology/global/user-stories/cerebral-palsy/hunter-and-his-mytobii-p10/ ).

 

The author of that email put up a website presenting her evidence,

titled “Dave on Wheels Exposed”, which has one entry –

http://dave-on-wheels-exposed.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/dave-on-wheels-exposed-twist-you-never.html

(as I write, this uses a theme which crashes some mobile browsers). It

contains some screenshots of the original blog, which has since been

removed (along with the Twitter and Facebook accounts that were used to

support it). It concludes that the author of “Dave on Wheels” was a

paedophile who used it to attract the attention of underage girls, hence

the profusion of underage-looking female friends “Dave” had.

 

The hoaxer is obviously a quite articulate person who justified their

deception on the basis that it moved and inspired people, causing an

“outpouring of positive, emotional energy” and may have prevented a

couple of suicides, and that someone donated $500 to an American

cerebral palsy charity in “David Rose’s” name. Still, the scam was

believable – in hindsight, perhaps it should have aroused suspicion that

a blogger died soon after starting their blog, and that this was not

mentioned in the “sister’s” tribute, and that the disability community

had no knowledge of this person before last week – and the news of his

death caused made a lot of people upset even though they had only

recently, or even only just learned of his “existence”. However

“inspiring” it may have been to non-disabled people, to many people with

disabilities and their friends, it is likely to have been an infuriating

act of emotional manipulation as many of us have lost disabled friends

or relatives at a young age, including from pneumonia which is a fairly

common cause of death among people with spinal cord injuries in

particular. In particular, the well-known autistic blogger Amanda Baggs

was admitted to hospital with it early last month, and I have been

unable to find any more information on her situation.

 

I think the “paedophile” explanation is far-fetched; there have been a

number of hoaxes over the years on the Internet, including several fake

cancer blogs, the “Gay Girl in Damascus” hoax which brought a dramatic

climax with the author’s supposed arrest, after which “she” was revealed

to be neither gay, female nor anywhere near Damascus. This particular

hoax had a similar pattern of a dramatic conclusion followed by fairly

rapid exposure but was much longer in the making, with one anonymous

commenter on the “Dave on Wheels Exposed” blog alleging that they had

been in correspondence with “Dave” since 2008. Whatever good this person

thinks he may have done does not justify the hurt and the emotional

manipulation it involved.

 

Samedifference1 adds: I heard of this case last night from Matthew. As regular readers know, I have Cerebral Palsy. The thought that a person who is not disabled would want to make up having Cerebral Palsy at any level shocks me. The fact that he faked an extremely severe level of Cerebral Palsy- a level that two of my best friends, who are sadly not alive today, lived with in reality- and then tried to fake death just makes the situation worse many times over in my eyes.  


		
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3 Comments leave one →
  1. October 16, 2012 7:15 pm

    Was just reading through the comments on the “Dave on Wheels Exposed” blog, and someone from the New York Observer magazine just asked the hoaxer to contact her by email, so it looks like we’ll know what motivated this hoax before very long.

  2. samedifference1 permalink*
    October 16, 2012 8:45 pm

    That is if they actually contact her Matthew. Thanks for info.

Trackbacks

  1. Cerebral palsy blogger “David Rose” exposed as fake | Indigo Jo Blogs

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