Erich “Mancow” Muller’s on-air waterboarding was a hoax, an anonymous tipster tells Gawker, forwarding a seemingly damning e-mail exchange between the shock jock’s publicist and a veterans group she was hoping could find a torturer. “It is going to have to look ‘real,’” wrote Jerry Springer alum Linda Shafran, “but of course would be simulated with Mancow acting like he is drowning. It will be a hoax but have to look real.”
Asked about the email, Shafran replied, “I mistakenly said it would be staged…but that was early on and NOT TRUE AT ALL. When it happened several days later, it was real.” But the e-mail is dated May 21—Mancow was waterboarded the next day, not “several days later.” The anonymous tipster says he shared the info with Keith Olbermann’s producers before Mancow appeared on Countdown, but they went ahead with the segment anyway.