This is awkward. Artist Mark Pulliam was featured in the August issue of ORLANDO MAGAZINE because of his successful career, celebrity connections, and previous life as member of the New York Yankees. One problem: he made it all up.
And the crack editorial staff forgot to fact check his account — any of it — before the magazine went to print. Which is why author Mike Boslet had to hastily post a from-the-editor mea culpa via the website.
After a reader alerted Boslet that Pulliam had not, in fact, played Major League baseball, he decided to do some digging. Several phone calls later, Boslet found out that:
- Pulliam had never played for the Yankees;
- George Steinbrenner had never commissioned Pulliam to do a painting of Yankee Stadium;
- Pulliam never played baseball at the University of Florida;
Boslet was able to confirm that Pulliam attended Brevard Community College, however … but couldn’t prove he was on the baseball team.
It gets better, though: after more investigating, Boslet discovered that Pulliam had lifted parts of high school friend Larry Mikesell’s life and claimed them as his own.
…Mikesell said he and Pulliam were Class of ’77 graduates, and they had stayed in touch over the years. In July, they played golf together. Mikesell recounted his baseball career, saying he had played for Brevard, Florida and, for one summer, a Yankees farm team. All of his statements checked out.
He was nearly speechless after I told him Pulliam claimed a similar sequence of events in his life. Mikesell said he couldn’t recall Pulliam playing baseball at any level. Why would Pulliam appropriate part of his life?
“I just don’t know why he would. I don’t know,” Mikesell stammered. “It’s not like that portion that he used was anything spectacular. . . . It’s not like it was anything that would make his life any more spectacular. . . . As far as I am concerned, his life as an artist is more spectacular than what I did.”
It all came to a head when Boslet confronted Pulliam with the evidence, and after first “showing no reaction,” Pulliam later e-mailed Boslet to apologize for the “embarrassment” he caused himself and the magazine.
As a blogger I obviously don’t have much credibility, but just a general note: artists, typically, don’t play professional sports. If you come across one who does, and you happen to be writing a magazine feature about it, it’s probably worth looking into BEFORE GOING TO PRINT. Something to keep in mind.