The Australian man who made headlines with the Vietnamese name “Phuc Dat Bich” has revealed that his story, published around the world by various media outlets, is a hoax.
In January, a photo of a passport was posted to Facebook, with accompanying text complaining that people did not believe that the name "Phuc Dat Bich" - pronounced 'Phoo Da Bi' - was real, and that the passport holder's Facebook account had been shut down multiple times for an offensive name.
I find it highly irritating the fact that nobody seems to believe me when I say that my full legal name is how you see it.
The post was picked up by media outlets around the world as a viral news story in mid-November, with BBC News even getting an expert to explain how to pronounce the name properly.
But, the man from Melbourne has now revealed that the identity was false, writing in an open letter on Facebook signed "Joe Carr" ('Joker'):
I've never believed it's necessary for it to be mandatory to have your entire name to be published on social media. People should be free to use any name they desire. Facebook needs to understand that it is utterly impossible to legitimise a place where there will always be pranksters and tricksters.
What started as a joke between friends, became a prank that made a fool out of the media and brought out the best in the people who reached out to me. It didn't bring out the anger and darkness that we often see on the internet, but it brought a levity and humanity in a time we need it most.
The prankster told Guardian Australia that his named was Tin Le and was 23 years old, refusing any request for verification of his identity.
Well, you’ll just have to have faith and run with what you have. I’m too tired with it all. Call me Mr T.
His identity was subsequently confirmed through a Facebook friend.