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Incredible — Colombia Pictures fabricated a fake film critic, to provide ad-copy-on-demand.

Date: Mon, 04 Jun 2001 14:24:40 +0100
From: “Tim Chapman” (spam-protected)
To: forteana (spam-protected)
Subject: Fake film critic,4029,501215,00.html

Columbia critic exposed as a fake

Sara Gaines Monday June 4, 2001

A critic who has given ringing endorsements to a string of Colombia Pictures films has been exposed as a fake. Newsweek magazine discovered the gushing “critic” David Manning was created by the studio’s advertising department to boost campaigns for a host of new releases. The fake critic’s relentlessly positive quotes were included in advertising spiel for at least four films and the studio has apparently been happily churning out rave reviews in his name since last July. The glowing quotes attributed to Manning included tributes for A Knight’s Tale in which Australian actor Heath Ledger was praised as “this year’s hottest new star!” and for the Rob Schneider comedy The Animal which was hailed as “another winner!” Other endorsements were used in advertising copy for Hollow Man and Vertical Limit. Susan Tick, a spokeswoman for Columbia’s parent company, Sony Pictures Entertainment, admitted to Newsweek the reviews were “an incredibly foolish decision.” The company has now withdrawn adverts which contain the fabricated quotes although some newspapers had already carried them over the weekend. In the adverts Manning is named as film critic for The Ridgefield Press, a family-owned weekly in a small Connecticut town.

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