A fake news website called O’Reilly Post has duped hundreds of people into thinking Will Ferrell is moving to Alexandria. Over the weekend, the site published an article claiming the Hollywood star had announced in an interview he was “tired of the LA lifestyle” and that he was relocating to the Virginia suburb because its residents were “genuine and pretty friendly too.”
O’Reilly Post’s bio lists their main email contact as “firstname.lastname@example.org” and says “all news articles on oreillypost.com are satire or pure fantasy,” but that still didn’t stop people from earnestly welcoming Ferrell to Alexandria on social media and in the story’s comment section. Local businesses even got in on the hype; a commenter named Rachael Bright, who owns an art gallery in Old Town, wrote “It would be amazing to have him here. He could stop by our sweet little local artist gallery, Local Colour Old Town, and we would paint his portrait!”
This is not the first time O’Reilly Post has fooled the internet, though. Earlier this month the site said Matthew McConaughey was buying a home in Virginia Beach, and the story deceived everyone from Virginia Beach City Councilwoman Rosemary Wilson to local TV reporter Andy Fox. O’Reilly Post isn’t the only site of its kind perpetuating these hoaxes either. Other “fantasy news” outlets including The Clancy Report and McKenzie Post—which have the same bio and contact email listed as O’Reilly Post—follow the pattern of reporting on celebrities relocating to far-flung places in the United States, such as Clint Eastwood moving to Hot Springs, Arkansas and Justin Bieber moving to Sandy, Oregon.