CNN fails to see the funny side of student web prank
The story was published in newspapers from Chile to Croatia, reporting that women who swallow semen on a regular basis may reduce their risk of breast cancer by up to 40 per cent. This was according to a North Carolina State University study. One of the researchers, Dr Helena Shifteer, was quoted saying that, since the results have been known: "I try to fellate at least once every other night to reduce my chances. It was a spoof. And a mighty successful one.
The web page was developed by Brandon Williamson, a junior at North Carolina State University, and for his student friends and family. Williamson wrote a humorous news story that claimed to be based on research, which stated "Fellatio may significantly decrease the risk of breast cancer in women", and emailed it to his friends and family. The story, which carried an Associated Press byline, claimed the study had been published by the Journal of Medicine. The page also carried links to pretend CNN stories, as well as the news provider's copyright. However, once the AP and CNN saw the story, their representatives called the University and threatened legal action for copyright infringement.