BBC News Probes “Annie Tacker”

This one is being widely reported – from Phil Kemp at BBC News:

There are many unanswered questions surrounding Boris Johnson’s friendship with the US businesswoman Jennifer Arcuri.

For the past two days I’ve been investigating one of the more bizarre of them: who is her UK-based media manager and is she even real?

Kemp was following up on a detail from a hearing at Parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, where Paul Farrelly MP had drawn attention to the fact this supposed person’s LinkedIn profile was using a stock image. Farrelly writes:

Shortly after the session I sent Annie a message asking for an interview. I did not hear back. But I did soon receive a request to connect with someone called “Annie Tacker” on LinkedIn

No one of that name is listed as resident in the UK, and it has since been pointed out by various people on Twitter that this is a joke name: “An Attacker”.

Kemp goes to on describe how the the LinkedIn account subsequently put up a post suggesting that the DCMS was intruding on her “gender and identity” as a “transitioning woman”, before the alleged education details were amended from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to King Mongkut University of Technology in Thailand.

The “transitioning” ruse was of course an instance of the popular strategy of attempting to discourage scrutiny by crying “harassment”, and very similar antics were observed on a Twitter feed associated with Hacker House after Arcuri’s links with Boris Johnson were revealed by Jonathan Calvert and George Arbuthnot at the Sunday Times last month. The account, apparently run by the co-director, accused the journalists of harassing him and staff, including when one of them was trying to take their children to school, and alluded to a family illness. More oddly, the account cryptically claimed that “it’s not @Jennifer_Arcuri company”, despite all the documentation indicating otherwise.

This odd saga has also thrown up some other strange links – it was previously known that Hacker House was working with the alleged Pentagon hacker Lauri Love, but it’s also now come to light that in 2012 Arcuri was associated with Milo Yiannopoulos. This was at a time when Yiannopoulos’s online business venture The Kernal was struggling with debts to contributors – an op-ed by Tim Bradshaw at the Financial Times describes them both in the context of “London’s scrappy start-up scene” around a time when “wannabes, freeloaders and groupies often outnumbered the real entrepreneurs and investors on east London’s Silicon Roundabout”.

More bizarre, however, is that Hacker House’s Digital Marketing Manager was none other than Wesley Hall, a man with a chequered past who has most recently been linked to the Hampstead Satanic Ritual Abuse hoax. Hoaxtead Research broke the story and has the background.