E.S. Skipper by Lily G. Blunt
Many of you will know by now that E. S. Skipper, also known as Emmett S. Skipper and Dylan Wilson, has been exposed as part of a ‘catfish’ scheme. As far as I know, Natalie Leith was working on her own to deceive people on the Internet, mainly through fanfiction.net and Facebook. She used pictures of her family and friends to provide fake identities for various characters and with them built up a large network of friends and acquaintances in the m/m writing community.
In November 2013, I met ‘Dylan’ through two Facebook groups and offered to beta/edit the fanfiction stories he wrote under the name of Emmett’s Submissive. We became close friends and spent many hours each day chatting or working together on his stories via gdocs. I became an administrator on his Emmett’s Submissive Facebook page and helped gain him many additional followers and friends.
He seemed keen to publish, so I suggested he write a submission for Wayward Ink Publishing’s Bollocks anthology. We worked together on his plot and I helped edit it, as did many others before it was published. I produced a video for the story, helped promote his author name of E.S. Skipper and set up a blog for him in April 2014.
I gradually became suspicious of the drama in his life. Inconsistencies in his stories, along with things I thought were downright lies, led me to investigate who this person really was. The evidence I found made me doubt his background and life. I collated evidence along with several other people who voiced similar concerns.
We came to the conclusion that his persona was fake and the possible identity behind his profile was Natalie Leith. We also realized the other profiles connected to Emmett S. Skipper (i.e. Alex Samuels, Josh Cameron, Trent Skipper, Seth Leith, Chris Burns, possibly others) were all part of the scam conducted by the same person.
Although we believed we were right in our assumptions, we didn’t have enough evidence to voice our concerns publicly. We discovered a similar situation had occurred in 2011, again with Natalie Leith being the common denominator. This episode was also marked with drama, brain tumor and suicide stories.
By now, many of our friends and other people had been deceived into thinking E.S. Skipper/Dylan Wilson was a new and talented gay male author. He made many friendships using the different profiles, including one that was destined to lead to a marriage proposal.
We were not the only ones who became suspicious and other people conducted their own investigations, some drawing the same conclusion as us.
A small group of us joined together last week and managed to track down the real life Facebook accounts which contained photographs that proved ‘Dylan’ and ‘Josh’ were fakes. This was the final proof. We composed a letter and sent it to certain people involved, and as a result, the situation became public.
There has been outright condemnation of this woman and rightly so. She beguiled her way into many people’s hearts. The revelation of the truth behind this character has left many people shocked and in grief. They have lost someone who they considered was a supportive and caring friend.
Two other people I know also thought they were in a relationship with one of the fake personas and have been hurt in ways we can only imagine. No remorse has been shown and the motive for such deception is still unclear.
As much as ‘Dylan’ was seen as a young and flamboyant author, he also had a malicious side. Many people were witness to his nastiness. Natalie’s method was to divide friendships by telling lies. I was labelled a ‘bully’, ‘a jealous author’ and ‘evil’ to others. My name and character were slandered. Others have also been on the receiving end of this spite. One person was accused of causing the suicide of another author, when in fact that author was one of Natalie’s fanfiction profiles, Romancing the Boys.
Many of the people who helped E.S. Skipper ended up at the vicious end of her tongue when they either outlived their usefulness, suggested a change she didn’t like or started questioning events in Dylan’s drama-filled life. I’m guessing the slander and lies will have cost many of those in the firing line money in revenue.
Emmett S. Skipper’s Facebook profile and pages have now been removed. Alex Samuel and Trent Skipper’s profiles have been deleted. Emmett’s Submissive’s stories have been removed, but the profile remains on fanfiction. AuthorBoi’s stories and profile are still viewable, and Josh, Seth and Chris still have Facebook profiles intact at the time of writing.
Many authors use pen names, which is perfectly acceptable. Not everyone wants their true identity broadcast to the world. What is not acceptable is building up a web of lies and creating personas with the intention of deceiving and hurting others.
As well as receiving gifts, E.S. Skipper was given free advice and support, free editing and formatting, free book promotion, a free video, a free book cover, as well as taking up the valuable time and energy of many to help improve his writing. Had this person been honest from the start, she would have been welcomed into the m/m writing community and may have had a successful writing career.