When a Twitter user named Robert Honeyman went online on Monday to express his grief over their husband’s fall into a coma. comatose after being hospitalized with COVID-19Countless sympathetic voices spoke out in their support.
“I am very very sorry. We will keep you and your husband in our prayers, in my home. We will imagine a miracle; a medical success story. We will imagine his body healing,” actress Sophia Bush tweeted, which by Tuesday morning had more than 11,600 likes on Twitter, “And we hope that doctors can do the same. Reserve your seat, from here.”
The news comes just weeks after Honeyman sent another tweet with even worse news related to COVID: their sister has passed away from the deadly virus. That announcement made a big impression on the social media platform, garnering more than 43,000 likes and hundreds of replies sending condolences and anger over how diligence during the pandemic had been pushed aside.
“I’m so sorry for your loss. Sending you love,” said Lindsey Boylan, a former aide to Governor Andrew Cuomo, who helped expose him as an alleged serial sex offendertweeted in response.
But internet investigators such as writer and former book editor Joshua Gutterman Tranen have questioned Honeyman’s account, which describes a PhD in sociology and transgender feminism who uses the internet from last name, has a “deep interest in poetry” and works as a “consultant to represent LGBTQ+ in TV & Movies.” Among them: Honeyman used an easily retrievable archive image—listed on a royalty-free image website as “a smiling, happy, handsome Latino man on the side. out”—and no other online presence indicates the same credentials as the people they claim to be.
A search by The Daily Beast also found no records of Dr. Robert Honeyman — or their husbands — anywhere.
Furthermore, just a year ago, the account seemed to take on a completely different personality—an avid Scottish football fan, far-right, who sarcastically tweeted an official lamenting the lack of health care funding, “Oh, it’s a pity you can’t keep us in the house like animals anymore :sob::sob:.”
By Tuesday, the suggestion that Honeyman and their husband, Dr. Patrick Honeyman, are not who they say they are — or don’t exist at all — sparked intense outrage online. The bizarre episode seems to be just the latest example of pandemic suffering being used as a tool for people to cynically gather sympathy on social media — even if hundreds of people are actually continue to fight COVID-19 every day.
“If someone made it up, in the midst of such terrible suffering and loss, it would be disgusting. Trying to capitalize on real pain and real loss in this way would be monstrous,” Boylan told The Daily Beast on Tuesday. “I hope that’s not what someone did here.”
The Daily Beast reached out to Honeyman’s account and the owner replied, “Hi, what would you like to chat about?” About an hour after The Daily Beast asked for comment on a series of allegations the profile was forged, the account was disabled.
Evidence gathered by The Daily Beast points to a highly elaborate hoax.
The Daily Beast discovered that archived version One of Honeyman’s earliest tweets used the name @bob94754463. This account’s embodiment regularly comments on Scotland-based Aberdeen Football Club and claims by the end of 2021 that the user is living in the UK.
The Daily Beast has identified two UK-based individuals who are among the first followers not only of Honeyman but also of other alleged doctors with whom Honeymoon has interacted. author and promoter: @DrPCHoneyman, who they call their husband, and @DrSteveVille. By Tuesday night, both of those accounts had also been disabled.
Honeyman’s main online discussion topic is how the deadly pandemic is unfolding and no one seems to be paying attention. The account also frequently mentions working at a university—even noting in a tweet in December that their institution’s affiliated business school invited Andrew Tate to speak. The Daily Beast was unable to find any link between an academic institution and Robert Honeyman with the credentials the account requested, nor the school that invited Tate to speak in December.
The only Robert Honeyman this shop could find was a Scottish medical professional who moved to Virginia in 1774. According to the Pennsylvania Historical SocietyHoneyman studied at a college in Aberdeen and was a surgeon in the British Navy before going to America to serve as a doctor in the Revolutionary Army. He died in 1824.
The Twitter account in question appears to have removed all mentions of Aberdeen, switching from football to COVID and LGBTQ+ rights around July, when all previous tweets were deleted. On July 18, this account also changed its profile picture to a stock photo.
“As a historical photographer, I personally find it annoying that you use one of my photos on your profile,” photographer Chris Hayworth replied to Honeyman’s tweet on Tuesday. “I know you paid to use it, that’s not a problem but it makes you extremely suspicious when you do this. I plan to look at your sisters [sic] So does the record.” Hayworth did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
While the majority of Honeyman’s account has a large amount of retweets of virus-related content, it also includes some tweets advocating for mandatory mask-wearing in classrooms and more lockdown measures. during a virus spike—and complaining about the lingering effects of COVID.
In September, Honeyman first mentioned a husband, who was said to have cried when he got home because “all of his students got together to wear masks in class after learning about his disability.” he”. The tweet — which does not describe a disability — has garnered more than 12,000 likes.
Dr. Patrick Honeyman’s account, activated in October, describes him as a classical music teacher, “husband, [and] dad” loves “dancing and tenpin bowling.” Although it didn’t do much, on Halloween, this account mentioned that users were “reinstalled” after “mask regulations were applied in our faculty lectures “.
The Daily Beast could not find any documentation of anyone named Dr. Patrick Honeyman working as a college professor or classical music expert online. A reverse search of the profile picture also shows that it originates from a professional profile of an Indiana insurance company consultant. There does not appear to be any direct connection between the consultant and anyone named Patrick Honeyman.
Robert Honeyman also tweeted about the university and its students, writing in September that they were looking to hire a personal assistant to “work under me while doing Covid research from a scientific perspective.” social studies. No experience is required and will work virtually from home. Great Salary & Benefits.”
“Text if interested. Interested in a like-minded individual so contact on Twitter,” the account added.
But on November 3, the account revealed that the Honeyman family would be moving to Thailand, a place “we were told to be very Covid safe and LGBTQ+ friendly”.
“Hopefully if the pandemic ends (it certainly is), we can meet new like-minded friends,” they added.
Five days later, this user tweeted that their sister was put on a ventilator after being diagnosed with COVID—claiming that “she doesn’t believe COVID is a serious illness. [sic] and not cautious.” On November 12, Honeyman went viral after revealing that their sister had “passed away from covid”.
“The past few days have been difficult, I will not respond here for a while. When I come back all [sic] Covid miniaturists will be blocked immediately,” the account said. “I’ve run out of patience.”
However, Honeyman didn’t stay out of the fray for long in response to a tweet alleging that their account and another doctor’s account were run by the same person. They said they were “aware of several attacks…on my sister’s posts,” and asked their burgeoning online community to “report” individuals who criticized them.
Finally, Honeyman tweeted that their husband was in the hospital with COVID and that “he has serious underlying health issues and slow recovery.” On Monday night, Honeyman said the illness had taken a turn for the worst.
“It is with great sadness that my husband has been in a coma after being hospitalized with Covid. Doctor not sure if he’s coming out,” Honeyman tweeted. “This year has been the hardest year of my life losing my sister to this virus. This is the first time in my life that I don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
“If you can follow me on this platform, I need more people around [sic] I’m better now. Feeling sad and empty”, the account added.
Among other disturbing precedents, the strange episode recalls the story of a white man Arizona State University professor who admits to inventing a bisexual Hopi Native American colleague she claimed to have died of COVID-19. At the time, a professor at the University of Arizona, Hopi, told The Daily Beast of their non-existent colleague, “To me, it was like a hoax. If so, it’s a sick hoax.”
Before the account was deleted on Tuesday, Honeyman’s tweets were filled with skepticism and demands for answers about their true identities — and whether they were at any loss.
“Who lulls and what is your motivation for all these lies?” a Twitter follower requested.