Online Baby-Naming Contest Revealed to Be a Hoax

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
March 4 2013 4:20 PM

No, a Woman Isn't Letting the Internet Name Her Baby for $5,000. She's Not Even Pregnant.

1362431825278

Screenshot from the Baby Ballots website

Remember all those stories last week about how an expecting mother had sold the naming rights to her unborn child for a $5,000 pay day? Yeah, turns out, the whole thing was a hoax orchestrated by a baby-naming website to drum up publicity. NBC's Today's Moms website got to the bottom of things this morning after questions began to surface about the story:

Natasha Hill, a struggling single art teacher in Los Angeles, was named by the website Belly Ballot last month as the winner of an essay contest and the $5,000 prize for agreeing to let the Internet name her unborn baby. ... Hill, who said she was due in September, told TODAY Moms in a phone interview last week that she planned to use her winnings to pay off credit card debt and start her baby’s college fund.
But it appears Natasha Hill is actually Natasha Lloyd, an actress, and she is not pregnant, according to Belly Ballot founder Lacey Moler of Texas. After TODAY Moms received a tip and uncovered seeming inconsistencies in Hill’s story, Moler confessed to the hoax Sunday night and admitted it was her idea. "We came up with the idea for the contest and we knew it would be controversial,” Moler said. ... "We never thought it would get this big."
Advertisement

Loyd also confirmed the news when contacted by NBC, although she gave no additional details. Moler had originally claimed that 80 women had applied to the contest, but she now admits that, in reality, not a single real-life mother was willing to hand over the naming decision to the Internet. More over at Today.

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Democrats’ War at Home

How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?

Congress’ Public Shaming of the Secret Service Was Political Grandstanding at Its Best

Michigan’s Tradition of Football “Toughness” Needs to Go—Starting With Coach Hoke

Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10

A Plentiful, Renewable Resource That America Keeps Overlooking

Animal manure.

Politics

Cringing. Ducking. Mumbling.

How GOP candidates react whenever someone brings up reproductive rights or gay marriage.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

The Ludicrous Claims Women Are Pitched at “Egg Freezing Parties”

Piper Kerman on Why She Dressed Like a Hitchcock Heroine for Her Prison Sentencing

Behold
Oct. 1 2014 11:48 AM An Up-Close Look at the U.S.–Mexico Border
  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 1 2014 12:20 PM Don’t Expect Hong Kong’s Protests to Spread to the Mainland
  Business
Business Insider
Oct. 1 2014 12:21 PM How One Entrepreneur Is Transforming Blood Testing
  Life
Outward
Oct. 1 2014 11:59 AM Ask a Homo: A Lesbian PDA FAQ
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 10:54 AM “I Need a Pair of Pants That Won’t Bore Me to Death” Troy Patterson talks about looking sharp, flat-top fades, and being Slate’s Gentleman Scholar.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 12:26 PM Where Do I Start With Leonard Cohen?
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 11:48 AM Watch a Crowd Go Wild When Steve Jobs Moves a Laptop in This 1999 Demonstration of WiFi
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 1 2014 12:01 PM Rocky Snow
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 30 2014 5:54 PM Goodbye, Tough Guy It’s time for Michigan to fire its toughness-obsessed coach, Brady Hoke.