Is “Where the Hell is Matt” a hoax?

Time magazine listed the Where The Hell Is Matt? video (which shows Matt Harding doing an odd little dance in various locations around the world) as the #1 viral video of 2008. But at a conference on December 11, Harding confessed that the video was just a hoax. He said the whole thing had been shot in front of a green screen, and that animatronic mannequins had been used to make it look like people were dancing with him. Check out the full video of his confession:

Now, when I watch this, I think it's obvious he's being sarcastic. He's making fun of people who are so paranoid they think everything is fake.

However, not everyone seems to recognize the sarcasm. I've run across some websites in the past few days that are reporting Harding's "confession" as a straight story, with no mention of sarcasm. For instance, check out this Associated Content article, which doesn't seem to be just playing along with the gag.

As the saying goes, "we are at our most gullible, when we are most skeptical."

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Posted on Wed Jan 07, 2009


Animatronic mannequins? Um, that should be a tip-off right there that he was joking. There's a reason that you mostly only see them in Disney parks; those things don't come cheap.
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Wed Jan 07, 2009  at  02:50 AM
Wow, animatronic lemurs... So they faked the fake shadows? What's the word for a hoax hoax? buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo....
Posted by Canadarm  on  Wed Jan 07, 2009  at  07:35 AM
I can't get the 'confession' video to spool at all (bad connection here today). I did see the dancing around the world video some time ago but knew absolutely nothing about Matt or the supposed story so I watched the video simply for the pleasure of it and found it intriguing. I did not seek to know if it was fake nor did I feel paranoia of any kind, but was as entertained as I am when I read good fiction.

But then, I love fiction. Reality stories are often difficult to handle because ALL of us live them every single second of all the years of our often dreary lives. Give me the world of grand imaginings and that is good sustenance for the soul! HA! I loved the video and I don't care what the 'artist' meant to portray or even if it was a reality-fake, in the end it's in the eye of the individual beholder and most canvases are seldom complete truth.
Posted by hulitoons  on  Wed Jan 07, 2009  at  07:54 AM
The whole confession is a fake. It's not even Matt - it's been photoshopped. You can tell because the shadows are wrong.
Posted by outeast  on  Wed Jan 07, 2009  at  07:55 AM
Wasn't there an earlier version of the "Where The Hell Is Matt?" video. I remember seeing one well over a year ago, but it was rougher and didn't have as many "robots" in it.
Posted by Sam  on  Wed Jan 07, 2009  at  08:55 AM
LOL. Associated content has realized their mistake, the article is gone.
Posted by jean  on  Wed Jan 07, 2009  at  10:13 AM
Did anyone take a close look at the pie chart? $1,000,000 for "Robot Uprising Insurance" and $30,000 for a "Crab Wrangler." HA! They evidently didn't pay Matt, but they did budget money for his "stunt double."
Posted by forthright  on  Wed Jan 07, 2009  at  01:01 PM
The #1 viral video of 2008, and I don't even remember hearing about it before this.
Posted by Accipiter  on  Wed Jan 07, 2009  at  01:26 PM
Ok, I'm a grown man, but that video makes me well up - seeing all those people from around the world just having fun, acting goofy. Gives you a very brief shot of hope for humans.

I really think forcing everyone to watch that video every morning can really improve the planet.
Posted by stopeatingmysesamecake  on  Thu Jan 08, 2009  at  01:38 PM
It just bugs me that he didn't bother to iron his shirt before going up and speaking in front of a bunch of people.
Posted by Razela  on  Thu Jan 08, 2009  at  09:18 PM
I FINALLY got to see the 'confession' video and I DID find it hilarious especially the 'joe' robot and putting an entire airplane into a pool to get the weightless shot scenario.

I loved the Dancing around the world video when I first saw it some time ago and, oh yes, it's uplifting and a reminder that to be human is to not take life so seriously all the remember that we will always be a child no matter how old we grow to be in years and that's a global reality. ROK N ROLL!!!
Posted by hulitoons  on  Fri Jan 09, 2009  at  02:27 PM

We are going to dismiss a claim of hoaxing, and the opportunity to riducle those who believed the hoax when it would be so easy to?

For shame, MoH members. Next you'll be telling me that the so-called 'Santa Claus Killer' story plastered around the news at Christmas was real . . . . *

*This has been a test of the Emergencey Sarcasm Detection System. If yours is faulty, please check it right away 😊
Posted by D F Stuckey  on  Sun Jan 18, 2009  at  12:05 PM
Actually, this is a mirror image of the Taxil hoax, where the hoaxer debunked his own hoax . . . And even today, people still believe the original hoax as being true.

Now, we have someone debunking the truth . . . And people believe the hoax as being true.

Guess old Fred Pohl was right . . . .
Posted by D F Stuckey  on  Sun Feb 01, 2009  at  07:07 PM
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