Faking it? (2)


In response to my blog post outlining why I don’t believe in the authenticity of the sexily-clad cyclist story, I received a tweet from @StreetsblogNYC saying that although there were “no direct witnesses” there was “compelling corroboration” of events with a link to their blog post A Long Explanation of Why the Biking-While-Sexy Story Is No Hoax;

“George Bliss and Marlo Medrano of Hudson Urban Bicycles, a West Village bike shop, confirmed that Rijcken described an encounter with NYPD when she saw them later the same day. … Bliss’s recap of Rijcken’s account more or less matched what Rijcken told Streetsblog last Friday.”

Is this meant to be the “compelling corroboration” referred to? Well, I’m sorry, but to me that’s just too flimsy.

“Medrano confirmed that she was wearing the skirt shown in the widely-circulated photograph of Rijcken on her bike.”

Errr… hold on now, doesn’t that contradict her story?

“Rijcken told the Daily News that she was ‘on [her] way back to the hotel when [the police stop] happened and I changed into pants.'”

Yup, I definitely spot an anomaly there.

If she went to the meeting first, why didn’t she tell the Daily News she was on her way to a meeting rather than on her way back to her hotel? Or did she get pulled over after the meeting but before getting pulled over (in which case Medrana would have seen her in her skirt but she couldn’t have told him about her supposed encounter with the cop as it hadn’t happened yet)? (While on the subject of conflicting stories, note that in my first blog post on this subject I already pointed out that some sources say it happened on April 30 and others on May 3.)

So far, StreetsBlog’s attempt to dispel the rumours only provides me with even more reasons to believe the sexy cyclist story to be a hoax, and it doesn’t stop there:

“Rijcken touts her expertise in “guerrilla marketing” on her LinkedIn profile

Hm, interesting, I didn’t know that before, but it adds to my belief her story is not genuine.

“[Rijcken] emailed Joanna Virello and Stephanie Musso, her American acquaintances who organized the New Amsterdam Bike Show, asking if the New York Press would be interested in the story. (The Bike Show is co-produced by Manhattan Media, publisher of New York Press and other local NYC outlets.)”

Now that compellingly corroborates a possible hoax, as it directly contradicts a statement Rijcken made on Twitter, claiming she “never went to the press or mentioned a bikename” and “just posted it on [Facebook]” (the Facebook page for VanMoof, that was, with a lovely picture of Rijcken – who also claims she is a former model – posing with a VanMoof bicycle).

Faking It? (2)Streetsblog.org close their blog post stating “the hoax rumors have made her plot even more successful”.  


Hm. Successful in getting herself and the bicycle brand she represents a lot of attention, indeed, but also successful in creating plenty of doubt on her own and her company’s credibility and integrity, as it could be perceived that VanMoof might be willing to lie to people (dissatisfied customers included?) and that Jasmijn Rijcken herself is perhaps not as good at guerilla marketing as she thinks she is (as the whole point about guerrilla marketing is that you don’t make it obvious it’s a marketing stunt!).

All that at the expense of the NYPD; no matter how much you do so on the back of other bad press, that’s just inexcusable and shows a ruthlessness that would frighten me off if I were a (potential) customer, business partner or even mere acquaintance of Jasmijn Rijcken and/or VanMoof.

On the off chance that Rijcken’s story is genuine and not a hoax, she simply lacked the foundation to publicise it in the way she did. However genuine an accusation, you just can’t take it to the press or even merely post it publicly on your (company’s) social media profile without anything more than just your own word for it. (This is where serious, commercial press/media outlets should hang their heads in shame as well, as many of them relayed the story without sufficiently checking its factuality and credibility.)

I feel sincerely sorry for Jasmijn if she indeed really got harassed by a New York City cop, but I am having a hard time believing a person who on the one hand claims to be a well-travelled world citizen with work experience in the US, Europe and India, and on the other hand tries to present herself as a naïve, almost frightened tourist who could and would feel (easily) intimidated by a man in uniform.

Also, if she did get harassed by the unnamed NYPD cop and then decide to take advantage from it by publicising (marketing?) it in the way that she has done, I hope she understands what damage that may do to how other women (and men!) who suffered harassment may be perceived by the public.

And if she really is as “overwhelmed” as she claims to be right now by what “one Facebook post” (and an email to the press?) could bring about, that, again, may only show she’s not quite the marketing expert and hype heroine she claims to be.

Personally, I am more inclined to believe this was all a deliberate hoax, and I would suggest that Jasmijn Rijcken and VanMoof issue a shared statement or press release in which they come clean about this marketing stunt and announce they will do something that might help them save face as well as make up for the bad press they gave the NYPD. Perhaps they could make a donation to the NYC Police Foundation, the NYPD Emerald Society or one of the other charitable organisations supported by the NYPD. And perhaps those media outlets stupid enough to fall for the hoax could make donations as well.

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Licence.
Creative Commons License Op dit werk is een Creative Commons Licentie van toepassing.


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