Earlier this week, the Washington Post issued an editor’s note alerting readers to fabrications in a long story about black gay men and HIV. The note identified one Mickyel Bradford as the source of a false sequence of events:
Editor’s note: Several passages have been removed from this story because the source of those passages, Mickyel Bradford, has admitted to fabricating them. The passages include descriptions of a lunch in Bradford’s town and a ball that Bradford claimed he attended with a man identified as Seth. Bradford now confirms that neither of those events occurred as described. Additionally, Bradford admits the two men never discussed getting tested for HIV. All passages concerning the two men have been removed.
Since the editor’s note surfaced on Tuesday, the Erik Wemple Blog has been attempting to contact Bradford and finally reached him this morning at an Atlanta health-care provider where he works. Bradford wasn’t interested in commenting on the nitty-gritty of his involvement in the story: “This entire experience has not been positive for me,” he told the Erik Wemple Blog before excusing himself from the conversation. He said he might call back later.
The shaky claims in the piece, which was written by Jeff Guo for the post’s new “Storyline” project, forced the removal of about 2,000 words of text. Bradford apparently supplied details for scenes that Guo cast in the present tense, even though he was not there to witness them.