The bizarre background of Mediaite managing editor “Jon Nicosia,” AKA Zachary Hildreth, grows even nuttier today with Capital New York’s long investigation into Hildreth’s past. Citing nine former staffers, all of whom requested anonymity, Capital reports that:
- Hildreth pretended to have a boyfriend working in "black ops" as a means of explaining away the fact that nobody at Mediaite had ever met him in person
- Hildreth pretended to be a trauma surgeon living in Washington, D.C.
- Hildreth pretended to be a surgeon living in Massachusetts
Deadspin’s Timothy Burke, who worked with Hildreth at Mediaite several years ago, verified the outline of his former colleague’s statements on Twitter:
Worked with this guy daily for three months. Was told he was a doctor. Everything I know is a lie http://t.co/Jivwyy1B3u I've been Lennay'd.
— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) January 8, 2014
Burke also confirmed to Gawker that Hildreth claimed in telephone conversations that his boyfriend worked in black ops.
Hildreth’s pre-Mediaite criminal past is scuzzier than his original confession lets on, too. As The Awl reported on Tuesday, Hildreth repeatedly seduced and scammed gay men on the Internet by lying about his name, his age, his physical features, and most of all his murky past. After he assaulted one of his boyfriends, Hildreth tried to convince a Massachusetts court that his boyfriend had assaulted him. The imbroglio cost Hildreth’s boyfriend his medical license, which was reinstated years after the court deemed Hildreth a liar.
Hildreth doesn’t seem to be going into hiding anytime soon, though. As of Thursday morning, he remains active on social media:
I did not have sex with that bridge, Mr. Washington....
— Jon Nicosia (@NewsPolitics) January 9, 2014
Hildreth and Mediaite have yet to respond to requests for comment.
Update: 90 minutes after this story was published, Hildreth supplied the following statement to Gawker and other outlets:
Following my confession about past bad behavior in my life there has been an enormous amount of reporting into my background and past. Some of it true, much of it inaccurate. I felt my heartfelt piece placed on the record was everything I wanted to say.
But some of these stories have accused me of wrongdoing and even criminal conduct in connection with a 2005 incident with my then boyfriend. The record is clear that he, not I, was prosecuted and tried for assault with a deadly weapon. To this day I live with the physical scars from that incident.
This was the same district attorney's office that had prosecuted me previously for crimes I described in my piece. There is no doubt that if they thought or even suspected that I had engaged in criminal conduct, I would have been the one on trial, not him. My boyfriend was eventually acquitted and we settled a civil lawsuit I filed against him. We have both moved on with our lives. Again, I am trying to move on with mine.
Nicosia’s email signature contained the address of Mediaite’s Soho office and a New York City telephone number; the voicemail greeting did not indicate who it belonged to. We’ve emailed Nicosia for clarification and will update if we hear back.
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