It started out as most Twitter viral threads do: with an outlandish story and a willing audience. Shane Morris, a writer and avid Twitter user, told a story about accidentally smuggling heroin across the country on a road trip in his youth. Filled with plot twists and dark turns, the story quickly went viral, spreading across the globe with tens of thousands of retweets, hundreds of thousands of likes, and ample media coverage in a variety of major outlets.
The problem? The story, which included references to notorious MS-13 gang members, wasn’t true. After Shane admitted it, things got even weirder. Read on to learn about Shane’s viral thread, the GoFundMe campaign he launched afterward, and what ultimately happened for the internet prankster and his family.
Shane Morris’ Viral Twitter Thread
Let’s start with the basics. Morris, an aspiring writer, penned the now-famous story in late May, starting with, “Y’all wanna hear a story about the time I accidentally transported a brick of heroin from Los Angeles to Seattle? I bet. Alright, let’s do this…”
The story detailed a road trip Morris allegedly took during his 20s, a broken-down car, hiding heroin from a park ranger, and multiple tricks played on members of the notorious MS-13 gang. It was retweeted over 68,000 times and received over one million impressions in just about a week. Morris claimed to be making the story into a screenplay, to have received attention from famous Hollywood producers, and to be launching a creative career based on the story.
Soon after, however, Morris admitted the whole thing was a hoax. He wrote about his desire to pretend his life was more exciting than it really was in a Medium post, which was also shared and read widely. The truth was, he claimed, that he was just an everyday “vanilla” guy with a wife at home and a burgeoning writing career, and he’d wanted to get noticed with the viral thread.
Morris’ Failed GoFundMe Campaign
Along with the Medium post, Morris launched a GoFundMe campaign with a $20,000 goal. The crowdfunding campaign was allegedly meant to fund the creation of Morris’ story into a screenplay, and, later, a full-length film. It was also supposedly aimed at protecting Morris and his family from MS-13 gang members who might have been angered by the story.
The GoFundMe campaign was met with immediate, and widespread, disapproval. Respondents protested that Morris shouldn’t get funding for his creative projects when others did it the hard way (instead of lying). Many also questioned whether Morris and his family were really in danger, given that Morris had not shown himself to be honest or credible to begin with.
Since the campaign’s launch, Morris pulled it after it was met with backlash and received very few donations. He has also deleted his Twitter account and gone MIA, as far as internet sleuths can tell.