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America woke up on Tuesday to the harsh fact that "Diane in 7A," the terrible Thanksgiving travel villain who launched a thousand retweets and too many Internet think pieces, was all a sham. It's a made up tale from a man who a makes a living selling made-up tales as real life on network television.

Elan Gale, the Bachelor producer who tweeted about his alleged encounter with a rude airline passenger on Thanksgiving, sort of came clean about what really happened on Twitter last night: 

Gale story of "Diane" was a source of intrigue and endless amusement over the Thanksgiving holiday. The story was simple: a terrible lady was selfish and mean to people on an airplane, was put in her place by a guy (Gale) who told her to "eat a dick", then slapped the do-gooder in public. This all played out on the social-theater app known as Twitter. Many websites (including this one) and news stations picked up this viral story, and Gale garnered around 140,000 more Twitter followers. There was an inevitable backlash of people supporting Diane, and even claims that she suffered from cancer. And then came the think pieces. The very serious think pieces. In the end, none of it was true and all the digital ink was spilled over nothing.

The entire Gale-Diane fictionalized fight is just the latest example of how the Internet has revolutionized the way we can be idiots about things. It's not unlike the waitress who alleged that a family she was waiting on wrote a homophobic comment on her receipt and left no tip, though the family in question has credit card bills that say otherwise. Thanks to social media, it's now easier than ever for people to cry wolf and gain an audience. Rest assured though, there is one truth that Gale has taught us in his fake tale of a terrible monster: Self-aggrandizing internet trolls really do exist. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

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