Waleed Aly’s wife, Dr Susan Carland, has been forced to publicly defend her husband after he was the subject of an ‘obviously fake’ satirical story, which many readers believed to be true.
The article published last Friday by an Australian right-wing website falsely claimed that The Project host had openly supported a recent attack on a 15-year-old girl by a group of teen girls in Melbourne.
“Waleed Aly applauds African gang who assaulted young girl at train station for ‘courageously standing up to white privilege,” read the title of the piece.
The story also referenced a fictitious “15-minute lecture” delivered by the 41-year-old on the Channel 10 panel show and included the small tag ‘Satire’ above the title.
The tag appeared to go largely unnoticed by those who read the story, who subsequently took to Twitter to share their outrage and even call for Waleed to be stood down.
On Sunday, Dr Carland shared a tweet refuting the article’s authenticity after the backlash against Waleed reached fever pitch and her husband’s name began trending on the platform.
“FOR GODS SAKE PEOPLE THIS IS NOT REAL,” the 39-year-old mum-of-two tweeted along with a screenshot of the article in question.
Later, the Child Genius host followed up with another tweet explaining why she felt compelled to speak out. Waleed does not have a Twitter account himself.
“To clarify: I’m not upset. Weird & blatantly untrue things about my husband are merrily posted online regularly & most I ignore (“someone’s wrong on the internet” isn’t a way to live a life). But this astounded me because so many people believed something so obviously fake,” she wrote.
The Project’s social media team also defended Waleed, branding the story ‘abhorrent’ and responding directly to many users’ outraged tweets — most of which have since been deleted.
“This is #FakeNews and you know it is. There is not one ounce of truth to this report. It’s a complete fabrication under the guise of ‘satire’ and it’s abhorrent. We suggest deleting this tweet now,” read one tweet from the program’s official Twitter account.