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Birds

Innocuous Tweet About Parrot’s Role in Divorce Settlement Possibly Plagiarized by Philly Lawyer

Updated

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Would you like to know how the sausage is made? The sausage of online pets content, that is? Well, typically, a pets post is part of maybe 1,000-2,000 words I write a day on any number of subjects. (Today it’s been this parrot, Bob Dylan, and Brooke Mueller.)

And because most of these pets posts are not typically what you’d call “heavy lifting” writing, I have to confess they are often not met with a great deal of scrutiny. Wednesday, someone sent me an article essentially based around a Philadelphia’s lawyer “boy, you can’t write this stuff” tweet about how a parrot had been part of a divorce settlement he’d finalized.

Adler has his own law practice and serves on boards for Temple University and the Philadelphia Bar Foundation, and his Twitter feed is “a way to brand myself,” he told Billy Penn. And it looked like it was working: He’d received nearly 45K retweets.

One problem, though:

Adler’s tweet bears a near-verbatim resemblance to one tweeted out nearly two months earlier from a different account. A post at the blog Lawyers and Liquor uncovered a great many more of astonishing similarities between jokes people already made and jokes that appeared on Adler’s Twitter.

In virtually every instance, Adler appears to have waited a few months before copying the tweet, altering a word or two and maybe adding a #relevant hashtag.

Oh wait, that’s not true. Here, he only waited a few days.

Adler apparently spoke to BBC about the whole thing and doubled down on his story, claiming that he did in fact have such a case, though he has not spoken about any of the other tweets or contacted Lawyers & Liquor directly. Billy Penn reporter Mark Dent notes that the site was “looking into” the situation and that Adler continued to stand by his story.

Here’s another one he appears to have nabbed:

So, to recap: A lawyer seems plagiarized a tweet about a parrot and rode it to minor viral fame, at which point he was outed as a plagiarist of other tweets, which is generally considered “not a cool move.” There might not be a parrot. There might never have been a parrot.