Not another viral scammer story

#SurvivingSophia clumsily picks up Anna Delvey’s baton.

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Mostly I’m just mad there’s not a single thing that’s happened to me that is interesting enough for Netflix to buy. —Kate 

A love for storytelling is perhaps the one throughline throughout all of human history, but our neanderthal ancestors would weep to hear that a tradition that started over fires deep in caves has ultimately evolved into something called “Twitter Spaces.”

I’m referencing #SurvivingSophia, a viral story about an alleged scammer named Sophia Nur that was first told in a Space (Twitter’s answer to Clubhouse) featuring influencers like Jeff Wittek and Rickey Thompson. The many, many accusations against Nur range from showing up to influencer and celebrity events uninvited to claiming she was pregnant with singer Jack Harlow’s baby. In between are so many other details and twists and stories that it’s actually impossible to explain, which is why I’m already ready to move on from it. 

First thing’s first: Despite my skepticism, there’s no clear reason to believe anyone telling this story is lying. The thing is, as Vulture handily reported, there’s not much out there to prove anyone is telling the truth, either. Sophia Nur has yet to publicly identify herself or even be reliably found on social media.  

The first thread I saw on Nur was by Arianna Dantone, who has large followings on both Twitter and Instagram. Immediately, it reminded me of the 2015 Twitter thread by Aziah "Zola" Wells, which went on to become the A24 movie Zola released this past summer. Yesterday, another scammer story was given the spotlight, as the teaser for Netflix’s Anna Delvey series Inventing Anna dropped. In Dantone’s thread, she even remarks “this would be a great netflix special.” 

Zola’s story was linear, clear, and well-told. The story of Anna Delvey, written for New York magazine by Jessica Pressler, had an editor. The story of Sophia Nur is a chaotic mix of multiple Twitter threads from multiple perspectives, no clear timeline, and accusations that are all individually damning but hard to piece together into any kind of narrative other than “hot mess.” Plus, at least one teller’s awareness of the potential for this story to get snapped up by a TV or movie distributor casts a somewhat rabid tinge on its retelling, making me perhaps unfairly skeptical of its intentions. 

The public also seems split on who to root for. Half of the readers see Nur as another Delvey-esque scammer you can’t help but admire, whereas others are saying that this was actually a deeply disturbed person who needed help. Others blame the influencers and other alleged victims for seemingly so easily handing over their credit cards. Overall, I don’t know if this story landed the way those behind it originally hoped.

But it almost doesn’t matter, because people are talking about it anyways. It’s got a scammer, influencers, and a built-in audience. It’ll be on Hulu within the year.