Why isn’t anyone questioning the “Diane” story?

Yesterday, my pal Elan Gale live-tweeted his note exchange with an angry woman called “Diane” on a delayed flight. Buzzfeed is obsessed with it so you can read their post here. He sent “Diane” a letter and a glass of wine after the plane took off, and throughout the entire flight they exchanged notes.


He said “Diane” even threatened to call authorities and actually slapped Elan when they got off the plane.

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Not one single article questions the legitimacy. Why does this bug me? I’ve done both real and fake funny twitter things. I posted a fake winning lottery ticket that got picked up by a few media sites, but I admitted it was fake a few hours later. I got harassed, berated, and endlessly questioned for my Brian Presley live-tweeting that people still ask me if it actually happened. Yes, it was completely true. I had websites writing about how I was taking anti-depressants so I MUST be lying. People went deep into my history to try to prove me wrong. The Daily Mail claimed I was a liar because I dated a radio show host who likes “radio pranks.” Is it because I’m a woman who confronted a guy that my story needed to be set straight? Had Elan been a woman, and the passenger a guy, would more people think he was lying? The story itself doesn’t bother me, just that it’s being accepted so easily. I’m sure if someone wanted to really investigate it, they could get a report from the airport where he was slapped or ask the airline attendants if it actually happened. I find it hard to believe an employee wouldn’t report violent behavior, since “Diane” was boarding a connecting flight. Any type of violence in any airport would cause the police to be called, especially since the recent shooting at LAX.

Instant fame from shock-worthy social media incidents keeps getting more and more popular. It’s like how MTV’s The Real World is total shit now because all they’re interested in are people who are willing to do stupid things to get short-lived media coverage. Content is being ignored and attention is all that matters. Remember last week when we all believed the lesbian server who claimed a family wrote something homophobic on a receipt and it ended up all being fake? In that case, she profited from her stupid prank, which is just so morally wrong. The only thing Elan is gaining is popularity and the contentment of making people laugh. Who doesn’t want that? That’s more or less the entire reason for Twitter anyway.

If I were to dig deeper into the “Diane” story I could simply Google Elan and see his history with similar online incidents:

1. Neighbor drama posted on Tumblr. Notes being left on doors, Elan claiming to have sent flowers to his neighbor’s girlfriend to cause drama. Also, the note left on Elan’s door had quotes around his name too, just saying. Why hasn’t anyone examined this and questioned him?
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2. He also did a “blind-date live-tweet.” Screen Shot 2013-11-29 at 2.46.57 PMblind-date15blind-date20

Does this really truly matter if it was fake or not? Not at all. We were all entertained. I’m just annoyed that his his blind-date tweets and neighbor drama posts haven’t been brought up as a possible reason for the story being a hoax. He didn’t even post a picture of “Diane” or take a picture of the back of her seat. I was torn apart after I live-tweeted that douche bag actor, and the female server was investigated too. Why is Elan not being questioned? Why are women the only ones being questioned? Is it as simple a reason as misogyny? Women aren’t as powerful as men, therefore their actions must be questioned?

We are all just lemmings taught to believe anything we read on the internet. If it’s a fun story and makes us laugh, there’s nothing wrong with it. But in the case of the lesbian server and the homophobic receipt, finding out it was fake hurt a lot of people, including the restaurant owner and the people who donated money to her. She’s a real piece of shit. From my experiences with Elan he is the opposite of a piece of shit. He’s a very friendly, creative guy with a great sense of humor. I can definitely say he “won” the internet yesterday.


38 thoughts on “Why isn’t anyone questioning the “Diane” story?

  1. May I simply say what a comfort to uncover somebody who truly knows what
    they’re discussing on the net. You certainly understand how to bring
    a problem to light and make it important. More people need to
    read this and understand this side of your story.
    I was surprised you’re not more popular given that you most certainly have the gift.

  2. So Melissa….I’m glad to see you are back posting on your blog. Ya know, life is getting so weird this days….I have to admit I am just a fifty something female reading your stuff because A: you are pretty good, and B: I have a daughter your age, and sometimes her world view and mine are so different…your musings kinda help me understand that perspective. I can assimulate with you on some of your male encounters myself, they just have a different attitude. Frankly though, I do enjoy your writing and I hope your efforts bring the appreciation they deserve. Best wishes!!!

  3. Hey Melissa could you maybe make a post talking about music sometime? that Future Islands song you linked too is like my favorite song now, I’d love to hear what else you listen too

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  6. You are both media whores. His pussy is selling a little better this week because it’s fresh. You would have joined the mile high club with that married dude if he had 1 legit role to his name. Gnome sayin’?

  7. I think people are indeed quicker to believe that a woman is being unreasonable (and to want to see her put in her place). Elan obviously likes creating fantasies where he’s surrounded by unreasonable women and he gets to have the last laugh.

  8. “Does this really truly matter if it was fake or not? Not at all.”

    That’s a joke, right? When news outlets are reporting on it as assumed to be true, then we’re all in trouble.

  9. I hadn’t thought of the difference in the way stories like this are received. Thank you for sharing this! As for Elan’s little tale, I just assumed it was a new form of interactive fiction, perhaps inspired by an actual passenger, created as entertainment by an imaginative guy. “What if I did this, and she did that.” The discussion on Buzzfeed was something else. It involved unquestionably real people (like those plays where actors are planted in the audience to encourage attendees to speak). It covered so many issues, from civility when interacting in writing with strangers (online or in person), sexism, ageism, racism (I know–that one was weird), classism (first class vs coach), and, of course, the way so many people treat workers who are not allowed to defend themselves, and, by extension, all sorts of bullying. Thousands of people are thinking about these issues now. This two-page piece has done more to increase dialogue about daily interaction than any novel or sociological commentary has done in my memory. It was hilarious, but it was also important.

  10. Not excusing being rude to someone just because they are being rude themselves, but having cancer also doesn’t justify being obnoxious to people who have no control over whether a flight is delayed or not.

  11. Oh yes, telling a stranger to “eat his dick” is always a sure sign of being a great guy with a great sense of humor. Sorry, but no.

  12. “Does this really truly matter if it was fake or not? Not at all. We were all entertained.” Really? I seem to have missed any entertaining parts of all of this jackassery.

    At best, Elan made up a story in which he portrayed himself as a petty person, unable to let the minor bad behavior of others roll off his back like an adult. That’s neither entertaining nor praiseworthy, and it normalizes bad behavior.

    At worst, if it really happened and the cancer story is true, he may have been bulling a dying woman.

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  14. I imagine it has something to do with what was at stake. The guy in your scenario was married (if I’m not mistaken, sorry if I am) and thus his sleazy behavior towards you threatened that relationship (thus, something at stake) and so I guess many people would’ve thought it important to know if the story was the truth or not (though why anyone besides his wife would care is beyond me). Whereas there isn’t really anything at stake in Elan’s situation (excepting for the fact that he bullied and harassed this woman…but then in that case most people probably would hope that it actually WAS fake since his misogyny and gross behavior towards her are at the very least an example of a shitty role model and at worst a scary reminder of how easily American culture accepts the harassment of women as entertainment). But, ya know, just guessing.

    As for your experiences with Elan…the thing is though…you’re a beautiful, successful, eloquent woman, who has unlikely ever incurred his desire to embarrass or berate. People are not the humanity they show when it is all to their benefit, people are the humanity they reveal when times are at their worst, when they’re pushed to their limits, when they are confronted with the worst. Whether or not this tale is real, Elan is either a person who lacks compassion and empathy (not to mention logic, maturity, and a keen awareness of the perils of misogyny) or a man seeking a kind of fame that isn’t based on talent or personality but instead on shock value and lacks an obvious appreciation for the value of truth, he’s no better than a photographer willing to lift up your skirt to get a good shot.

  15. Iliza refers to the “bitch in 3A” while Elan describes his encounter with the woman in 7A. If Iliza was seated nearby in, say, 5C, the difference between 3A and 7A would be obvious. If she was seated way back in coach, the whole encounter would be hard to follow, much less identify seat numbers. If she was only aware of it from Elan’s live tweet, you’d think she’d use the seat number that Elan tweeted. On the other hand, if Elan just called her after landing and asked her to back him up on a quickly recited story, she might well get the seat wrong.

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  18. Yeah. As entertaining as it was, he more or less lost me at the claim that the flight attendant delivered the first note and only backed out the second time. There’s no way in hell an employee of the airline conspires with one passenger against another and isn’t fired by the time the plane lands. There’s equally no way the flight attendant wouldn’t have told him, “Hey, man, you gotta knock it off. Fun’s fun, but she’s talking about calling the Air Marshall.”

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  20. “I find it hard to believe an employee wouldn’t report violent behavior, since “Diane” was boarding a connecting flight. Any type of violence in any airport would cause the police to be called, especially since the recent shooting at LAX.”


  21. Well I’m just so happy that airlines have lifted the ban on using electronic devices while in flight or else we wouldn’t have had the blow-by-blow account.

    They HAVE lifted the ban, right?

  22. Not comparable situations, imo.
    People were quick to question you and dig into you because Brian Presley has a fan club, PR people, and legions of Christians who don’t want his name sullied or whatever.
    And the waitress wasn’t really investigated. The customers’ of the receipt she used realized it and came forward. Her coworkers told people she was a troubled-liar but nobody cared until after the receipt came out.

    This Elan guy isn’t claiming anything about anyone ‘special’ nor is he claiming to be a victim (like the waitress) of bigotry or something heavy. It’s all frivolous and not a big enough deal for anyone or group to care enough about to research it’s factualness… let alone care about in a week.

    Though it does kinda seem like you’re trying to get some traction off it yourself.. Not that there’s anything really wrong with that.

  23. I thought it was pretty ridiculous that people gave you such a hard time for the Brian thing, but you’ve raised a great point – why is no one calling Elan out on this when they were so quick to do it to you? Why is no one speculating on his mental health, dating history, looks, or other personal details? In fact, I’d argue that what he did was worse, seeing as he actually went out of his way to screw with this lady (although, you know, it was pretty hilarious). I thought it was absolutely fair game to broadcast Brian’s douchebaggery – he brought it on himself. But I can see why that would seem threatening to a lot of men hiding behind their Twitter accounts…

  24. So, just to add to this, I find that the handwriting (or printing, actually) on Elan’s note to Diane, and the threatening note supposedly left on his door by “Kristy” are very similar. I’m no expert, but the S’s and the Y’s are obviously the same. You ask a good question as to why nobody bothered to check Elan’s previous claims.

    The fact that women are usually assumed to be hoaxers, while men often get a free pass has got to be incredibly frustrating for you. But if you channel that anger into creativity, I don’t doubt that you’ll end up being very successful at a writing career.


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