Image for article titled Guy Behind Fake Cormac McCarthy Twitter Account is Actually a California Gubernatorial Candidate

Screenshot: Lucas Ropek/Instagram

Cormac McCarthy, author of many a novel about dark, dark things, has never been on Twitter, but that hasn’t stopped other people from tweeting for him.

A fake account for the writer, @CormacMcCrthy, recently enjoyed a brief wave of success—garnering more than 49,000 followers, grabbing attention from celebrities like Stephen King and Patton Oswalt, and even getting verified by Twitter.

However, it turns out that account was created by this guy, Daniel Watts, a California lawyer, who also happens to be running for governor in the state.

Watts, who set the account up for a laugh in 2018, has referred to it as a “very obvious parody” account—something Twitter apparently totally missed. According to Watts, the social media company decided to verify his joke account without any prompting: “I never interacted with Twitter. I woke up and all of a sudden there’s a blue checkmark,” he recently told the New York Daily News. Twitter subsequently admitted that it had fucked up and sheepishly removed the account from its platform out of shame.

Anybody who knows anything about McCarthy—writer of some really great novels (The Road, No Country For Old Men, and the “Border trilogy”) and one very bad screenplayknows he has never been on social media and isn’t exactly the type that would be. Frequently characterized as one of the most reclusive authors of all time, he hasn’t given an interview in years and, for most of his career, has aggressively avoided the limelight.

Watts, meanwhile, doesn’t seem to mind attention. He has a YouTube channel on which he sings and plays keyboard, is a free speech attorney, and, as previously noted, is currently running in the upcoming recall election unfolding across the Golden State.

As McCarthy, Watts tweeted about a whole array of things: the author’s vexing trips to Trader Joe’s, his musings about word meanings, mittens, and TikTok, and his ongoing frustrations involving his TV set. Props to Watts for good world-building, with ongoing references to regular characters in McCarthy’s life—like his “idiot nurse” and her tattooed boyfriend, his “infernal publicist Terry,” and his lawyer, “Gregory” (all fake people).

The whole thing, which can now be found on the Way Back Machine, is worth a look and involves a lot of stuff like this:

Image for article titled Guy Behind Fake Cormac McCarthy Twitter Account is Actually a California Gubernatorial Candidate

Screenshot: Lucas Ropek/WayBackMachine/Twitter

Here are other things that Twitter apparently thought were real things that Cormac McCarthy would say:

  • “Kombucha is simply tea that has gone bad”
  • “How quickly we forget about the pangolin’s role in our sorrow”
  • “Trader Joe’s sells frozen dinners that strongly resemble soylent green”
  • “When did fortune cookies become so judgmental”
  • “My publicist Terry says I should post more pictures with insipid commentary. Terry calls these abominations memes and says using them will increase my appeal to generation Z”
  • “Nothing can or should or need be yeeted”

This is actually the second time this has happened. Back in 2012, another person’s fake Cormac account fooled lots of people, including author Margaret Atwood.

Update: This story originally reported that a previous fake Cormac McCarthy account had come to light in 2013. It was first reported on in 2012.