A version of this story first appeared in the Sept. 13 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
Management 360 fell victim to the online hoax known as catfishing when an intern-turned-mailroom trainee hired in April was discovered to have created more than a dozen fictitious e-mail accounts that she utilized to make herself appear to be a well-connected industry insider. In the guise of such names as Christopher Nolan, Anthony Kiedis and model Behati Prinsloo (Adam Levine's fiancee), she networked and flirted with a number of her superiors -- at one point inviting people over to a property she claimed she was house-sitting for David Fincher.
Eventually, other employees grew suspicious. She was confronted and fired Aug. 15.
The company declined to comment. "This was some crazy shit," says one source close to the situation. Adds another waggishly: "She's evil, but I want to hire her."
Management 360, one of Hollywood's top management firms, has offices on Wilshire Blvd. in Beverly Hills. Its key clients include Channing Tatum, Anne Hathaway, Taylor Lautner, Julianne Moore, Rooney Mara and Miley Cyrus.
Catfishing has skyrocketed in pop culture prominence in recent years as online relationships become a defining feature of contemporary life. The term is derived from a cult hit 2010 film (since turned into a related, ongoing MTV series) called Catfish, about the truths and lies behind digital personas.
The most prominent victim of catfishing to date has been San Diego Chargers linebacker Manti Te'o, who this past January, while still a Notre Dame football player, was tricked into an online relationship with a nonexistent woman by a male acquaintance. The story became national news in part because the then-Heisman Trophy candidate had spoken of how he had been inspired to succeed during his playing season while corresponding with the fictitious girlfriend, whom Te'o had been led to believe had eventually succumbed to leukemia.