On Friday, ThinkProgress reported that Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) had been tricked into listing a fake award on his campaign website. But two days after angrily acknowledging the error, as of Sunday morning, he and his team have yet to correct the embarrassing error.
The third-term Congressman was one of several conservative politicians and activists tricked by Sacha Baron Cohen for his Who is America? Showtime television series. Each was told by Cohen’s team that Yerushalayim Television, a fictitious Israeli media outlet, had selected them to receive an also fictitious “70 at 70″ award in recognition of their support of the State of Israel. Weeks after the ruse was revealed, ThinkProgress noticed that Perry had it listed on his re-election website (incorrectly calling it “70 for 70”).
After an array of domestic and international media outlets picked up on the story and contacted Perry for comment, the congressman posted a response on his Facebook page, blaming his staffers for the error, denouncing the story as not newsworthy, and suggesting that its very publication undermines Israel.
“No, I don’t think the bogus award is real, but apparently it’s a slow news day,” his explanation began. He continued:
Our staff keeps a universal list of accomplishments and awards that I’ve been privileged to earn. After several attempts to interview me (all declined) for what we discovered was a mockery, this addition clearly got by. We’re human, we made an administrative mistake, and I own it. But reporting this as newsworthy – which it’s far from – only further divides us, rewards those who not only try to humiliate in the name of entertainment, but also make a mockery of Israel (one of our closest Allies and of whom I’m a staunch supporter), and detracts from substantive issues that define a stronger community, Commonwealth and Country. I’m in disbelief that we’re actually spending time on this, so I’m just going to keep working on behalf of people who want to see us get stronger, not weaker.
Perry’s response went online at 7:06pm on Friday evening. As of 8:37am on Sunday morning, his website still had not been updated to remove the phony honor.
Perry’s statement lamented that the mention of his latest failure to discern fact from fiction “further divides us.” But this claim is undermined by the fact that, just below the hoax Cohen award, he also lists the 2018 “True Blue Award” from the Family Research Council, a designated anti-LGBTQ hate group.