The "celebrity sperm clinic" hoax which caught out daytime television show This Morning as well as national newspapers including The Sun and The Telegraph, turns out to have been a promotional stunt for a new television comedy.
The "boss" of the Fame Daddy sperm clinic, Dan Richards, appeared on ITV's This Morning on Tuesday explaining how individuals and couples could buy sperm belonging to big name celebrities such as premiership footballers, rock stars and Oscar-winning actors.
Richards turned out to be an actor and ITV yesterday issued an apology for accidentally misleading its audiences. But the Fame Daddy story was followed up by numerous news outlets including The Telegraph which today published a statement from a TV company called 2LE Media.
“Fame Daddy is not a real organisation. In fact it’s entirely made up, and is part of a satirical comedy / entertainment programme that we are producing for Channel 4,” the statement said.
“There is a serious side to the programme in that it aims to highlight the sometimes detrimental impact of social media on our news culture. Fame Daddy, for example, after starting out simply as a press released website with a social media footprint has reached Los Angeles, China and Australia.”
The FameDaddy.com website launched in 2012 carries the description “The world’s first celebrity sperm donor service”, claiming to offer “individuals and couples the celebrity semen of their choice.”
Sample donors include ex-premiership footballers earning over £10m, rock stars worth £40m, Oscar-winning actors, aristocrats, athletes and racing drivers.
ITV launched an investigation after Tuesday’s programme and later apologised to viewers who had been “deliberately misled by this stunt”.
An ITV spokeswoman said: "We obviously always make every effort to ensure the legitimacy of all the many stories which we feature on This Morning, as well as the authenticity of all guests. We carry out a range of checks, which in this case included verifying that this company was legally registered, and we did the interview in good faith."
She said those behind the stunt “clearly went to great lengths to pull the wool over the eyes of the programme and our audience”.