In the news published by the Turkish news outlets like Posta, Hürriyet, CNN Türk, DHA, Fotospor, Oda Tv, Halk Tv, Fanatik, Cumhuriyet, Takvim and Milliyet, it was claimed that Iranian Reza Parastesh, who is considered to be Messi’s doppelganger, seduced 23 women by impersonating the well-known footballer, Lionel Messi. These women, in return, allegedly sued Parastesh. For all the aforementioned news websites, the anchor text in the source hyperlink was a single tweet by the Twitter account named “Insolite TV.”
The claims about Parastesh were also published on websites outside Turkey. The headline from a Spanish news website called Marca read “The Iranian who pretended to be Messi in order to sleep with 23 women.”
However, it is not correct to suggest that Messi’s Iranian doppelganger, Reza Parastesh, conned 23 women into believing that he was the famous footballer Lionel Messi. Neither did these women take legal action against Parastesh. The earliest version of the claim which was tracked down by Teyit is found among Insolite Tv’s tweets. It is an account sharing humorous posts. Reza Parastesh also denied the claims on social media.
Insolite TV is a parody account
The claim about Reza Parastesh can be traced back to a post shared on Twitter on 23 June 2019 by Insolite TV.
The caption in French translates as “He slept with women by mimicking Messi. He is sued by 23 women.” The tweet has now received over five thousand likes.
This Twitter account was first created in 2017 and only 12 Tweets can be displayed. Other Tweets posted by the account can give clues about its parodic characteristic.
For example on 9 September 2018, the account shared the photo of the porn actor, Johnny Sins, and ridiculed him by saying that he would be one of the presidential candidates for the US presidential elections.
Another post about a young person asking God to reduce Ramadan to a shorter period, reassures that Insolite TV is a parody account.
Teyit was able to contact the admin of the account who said that the post was “for fun.”
Reza Parastesh denies the claims
Since the claims were circulating on social media all over the world, Reza Parastesh uploaded a video just to disclaim the news of impersonation and litigation.
The video’s English subtitled version can be found on the website called Omasports.com where the falsity of the claims is highlighted.
In short, the claim that Messi lookalike Iranian Reza Parastesh used his close resemblance to trick 23 women is inaccurate. Allegations of impersonation and litigation are not true. The claim shows an example for “parody,” a category under “seven types of misinformation.”
Twitter, Insolite Tv’s account
Twitter, Insolite Tv’s post about Johnny Sins, 9 September 2018
Twitter, Insolite Tv’s comical Tweet about Ramadan, 15 May 2019
A phone call with the admin of Insolite Tv, 26 June 2019
Instagram, Reza Parastesh’s post to disclaim the news, 23 June 2019
Omasports, I Did Not Sleep With 23 Women In Iran, 25 June 2019
Translation: Kansu Ekin Tanca