If you’ve been on Facebook at all today, you may have seen the latest in a long list of stories about folks who’ve fallen victim to a case of false identity. I’m not talking about the school teacher who rightfully uses a penname to write erotica, I’m talking about the woman who has created an elaborate ruse—has assumed a name, created the persona of a gay man, has used photos of a man (purportedly those belonging to a family friend) then passed them off as herself, and had recently entered into an online relationship with another author, which is apparently known as catfishing. It sucks that the internet keeps forcing us to make up new words to describe all the ways in which we can become victims of others’ sociopathy, doesn’t it? As it turns out, I really don’t like learning something new every day.
The author Emmett “E.S.” Skipper has allegedly perpetrated a fraud. “Emmett” is, in truth, a married woman with two children who has even gone so far as to create a false identity behind her penname—she is not Dylan Wilson either. I wouldn’t normally waste blog space on something like this, but, you see, I was indirectly taken in by this woman too. I didn’t have my heart broken by her. I didn’t befriend her believing her to be someone else entirely. I did, however, get suckered into her story about having just had brain surgery, of her recovery being slow and arduous, and of her friends gathering around her to support her and help her promote the new book, Whispers, that she wasn’t well enough to promote herself. I bought 5 copies of that book to give away to help “Emmett” build awareness for it as “he” convalesced, not out of a sense of obligation but because that’s what we do when someone in this community is hurting and in need of help. And I inadvertently dragged readers into this author’s scam as well, asking you to extend your best wishes to “him”. For that, I extend my most humble apologies.
As a short, white, straight woman with a bad dye job who has never claimed to be otherwise, I am livid that things like this happen. We women have entered into this genre of fiction as friends; to propagate change, to support equality, and to be good allies and supporters of the LGBT community. When one of us preys upon and takes advantage of any member of the community, it reflects poorly on all of us. We are visitors here who have been made welcome. We should treat that welcome accordingly.
I’m not posting this here for sympathy, nor am I’m posting it to remind everyone not to believe everything you see on the internet. What I am doing, however, is telling you to be aware that if you spend your money on this author’s books—which is every bit your right—do so with the knowledge that E.S. Skipper is as fictional as the books she writes, and she apparently has no qualms about spitting in the face of kindness. She, in fact, appears to take it for granted.