In the Company of Jerkoffs

By
September 18th, 2006
Note: The above screen capture is from a 2005 Fox News Channel appearance. The image has been re-inserted on November 15th, 10 business days after filing a counter-notice (pdf) in response to a DMCA takedown notice filed by Michael Crook which forced its removal soon after it was originally published.

As little as we like to encourage these guys, yet another sad member of the "griefer community," Michael Crook, is ambushing men with fake sex ads on Craig's List. Like past incidents, the story ultimately reveals a lot about the man behind it. In this case, he's not only pathetic, but a pathetic copycat.

If sex pranker Jason Fortuny is similar to the "Chad" character from Neil LaBute's In the Company of Men, then Crook is the asshole wannabe, "Howard." Not only is his imagination lacking, capable only of putting a slight spin on his hero's methods, but he also possesses a pathological moralism that seems entirely out of place and hypocritical for the behavior he's engaged in.



Clearly following the [tag]Fortuny[/tag] script, Crook pretended to be a 19-year-old female student at Syracuse university with B-cup breasts, looking to hang out "and maybe enjoy a nice, safe sexual encounter." ("I don't care if you're married, single, engaged, whatever. Life is fun. Sex is natural. Friendship is great.") And naturally, when men responded, Michael published their pictures and emails on craigslist-perverts.org — a domain he created Wednesday.

He also visited the "Casual Encounter" listings for five other cities — Las Vegas, Dayton, South Jersey, Kansas City, and Anchorage — publishing variations on his original ad. ("I'm 19, 5'4, 108 lbs, brown hair and eyes, and B cup breasts.") And added the responses to his site.

But he also made the additional effort of replying to his respondents to extract even more-embarrassing emails, and sometimes even instant messaging them. He also did online research, looking up their phone numbers and often claiming to have deduced the identities of his victims. "Check out this magazine article from a couple years ago, where he is in a picture with his wife and the guy whose name he used..." He apparently conned the (possibly married) man into sending a photo of his erection — then sent him one last email asking why he was trolling for girls on the internet and cheating on his wife. "What do you think your wife and co-workers' reaction will be when they find out?" he asks. (Adding that their answers, "along with your pics, will be posted for all to see on craigslist-perverts.org.")

The extra cities were apparently necessary because his original prank generated less than 50 responses and received almost no attention. (Just two comments and one post in his forum.) He brags that the next day his fake ad got 15 more responses. (Possibly because no one actually reads his web site —-Ed.) He claims he's enjoying "exposing the perverts" and "pathetic men" responding to the ads. "I just wanted to see what kind of people would respond on a site like Craigslist, which is known for carrying ads from prostitutes," he writes. But he's also published the names of their wives, and in one case Googled the name of a respondent, then claimed it appeared on other dating sites "including fag sites."

So who is Michael Crook? His web site describes him as a former Mormon, disillusioned after a dispute about how religious programming was assigned spots on a local cable access show. (And the fact that a flirtatious weather guy was tapped to teach teenaged girls in his ward.) In 1999 he was too underweight to join the army, but even after bulking up was told he was medically unfit for service. Seven years later he composed an essay arguing that members of the military are overpaid. ("Financially speaking, it's the Pacific Avenue hooker of our economy.")

He weasled his way right onto TV in the spring of 2005 for creating a web site called "Forsake the troops," which called attention to his belief thatsoldiers are over-compensated. It also called soldiers "scumbags" and "pukes," asking "What idiots risk their life for a country...? Let 'em die in combat - we don't need their ilk in this country!" This led to an appearance on Fox News where Crook's deer-in-headlights performance drew a standard-issue beatdown from Sean Hannity. ("You're ignorant and you're a disgrace... You are heartless, you are soulless, you are mean and you are cruel....") His site later reported he was beaten to death by angry servicemen — though that was obviously a hoax. Instead Crook created related domains like opposethetroops, disownthetroops, and citizensagainstthetroops - although he was apparently trying to auction them off to cash in on their notoriety.

Recently he's registered two more domains — racismworks.com ("Coming soon, a website which will explain why racism is actually a good thing...") and crimmigrants.org ("dedicated to exposing and discussing illegal immigrants.") Both sites, though appear to be little more than their taglines, followed by the words "Coming soon!" But at least some of his anger appears sincere. One blogger claimed earlier Michael had cited anaffiliation with a group to "preserve the rights of white men and women." Recently Michael also created a web page criticizing a 17-year-old drunk driver who killed her friend in a car accident — including what he purports are her phone numbers and address.



But for all his online activity, Michael remains plagued by obscurity. He grew up in small-town Arizona, southern New Jersey, and Las Vegas, according to his web site, and ran a 300-member fan club for an obscure Dutch Eurodance group. He writes that he manages a sports-clothing store and is "pursuing" a criminal justice degree.

Ironically, just four weeks before his Craig's List prank, he'd sent a spate of letters complaining about copyright infringement. It's possible that this article may only further his goal of online infamy, though it remains to be seen whether he can make a career out of pissing people off.

In April a garage band called Permament Ascent uploaded a song about him to their MySpace page. Its lyrics?

"He's a dick. (He's a dick!) Fuck him! (Fuck him!) Asshole. (Asshole!) Fuck hi-i-m. Fuck Michael Crook!"

Perhaps Fortuny and Crook take solace in each other, from within the familiarity of their malicious community. I can foresee a day when this community of nihilistic pranksters hold its first convention, and they spend a week at the Marriott sneaking up on each other, flicking each other's ears and laughing until they drool.

See also:
Crook's Internet Club
EFF and 10 Zen Monkeys vs. Michael Crook
"Dear Internet, I'm Sorry"
Craigslist Troll Gets Sued

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29 Responses to “In the Company of Jerkoffs”

  1. doug Says:

    Browsing through his site, I was struck by how much he reminds me of Ed Anger from the Weekly World News. Except that Ed’s at least kind of funny since he’s so far over-the-top. Nearly everything about Michael Crook screams “not good enough.”

  2. The Perversions of "Perverted-Justice" - Says:

    […] To Catch a Predator” on Dateline introduced sex baiting to the popular mind. Fortuny and Crook may have adapted it to their own psychological obsessions, but clearly, […]

  3. Naik’s News » HOWTO protect yourself from “The Craigslist Experiment” Says:

    […] ki. Similarly malicious internet creeps followed Fortuny’s lead, including copycat Michael Crook, who “pretexted” additional personal info from would […]

  4. newsBreaks.net » HOWTO protect yourself from “The Craigslist Experiment” Says:

    […] ki. Similarly malicious internet creeps followed Fortuny’s lead, including copycat Michael Crook, who “pretexted” additional personal info from would […]

  5. FjordBored Says:

    Someone find out if he is an agent provocatuer or blackmailer being paid to stir up shit by a foreign government.

  6. Youngs Says:

    What a truly sick man he is, I hope he gets the help he needs. I’m a college-eduated enlisted man in the Air Force, and I didn’t join for money or for ‘educational bribery’ but because I wanted to serve my country and make a difference; to be able to tell my grandchildren that I did something to fight terrorism. People like this are indeed sick, but I’m almost sorry his website has been taken down; I fight every day so that citizens of this country can be entitled to express their opinion, however warped or bizarre the rest of us may consider it to be.

  7. #1 crook fan Says:

    I would love to see him be successful. Could you imagine schoolteachers across the country no longer being able to use fair use material in their classrooms? Or when I try to train others on microsoft products using custom materials?

  8. #1 crook fan Says:

    OK- not trying to be petty or offensive here, but I read through his “proposals” about fair use. It’s not controversial… It’s not cutting edge… It’s just stupid. It’s poorly written and ignorant- I guess even he can lose his dull edge.

  9. pettyman Says:

    Take a look, before he changes it! His forums page is designed by military designs, a website design company that specializes in military websites. How pathetic, he still wants to be a part of the military!

  10. pettyman Says:

    he can’t be serious- he’s just admitted his hypocrisy on his blog, when he posted the video of his little video boy-crush-band 2-unlimited or whatever they’re called. Look at today;s blog as he loses the last remaining shred of believability that he had!

  11. toodooroo12 Says:

    Just for kicks, I put together a little text-based adventure game which is coincidentally similar to this conversation. The game’s about the completely fictional character Mike Thief, as he tries to make it through one day as a serial troll. Not as easy as it sounds!

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/theworldvsmichaelcrook/files/

  12. Will Says:

    The government should send Michael Crook into combat.
    He would coming running back behind the troops wet with his pants full. A complete idiot!!!
    Michael Crook is not smart enough to take up a cause that would honor himself, his self destructive behavior is a disgrace, unfortunately we as respectable citizens have to deal with moron behavior like his while sending troops into the line of danger to protect his rights.

  13. Peter Says:

    Very military guy!
    Funny…

  14. HeWantsIt Says:

    Guys lets think about it here. The whole point of what he did was to get attention, and look were giving it to him. All these websites that talk about him. He will be remembered for this because we keep talking about him. Same with the V.T killer. His goal was to be remembered and he got it to. So the best way to piss this Michael character off (if he is still alive) is to stop talking about him.

  15. toodooroo12 Says:

    You’re right, He, but it’s not going to happen. The thing is that any moron can get attention like this one in particular. It’s easy- children do it all the time. However, he won’t go down as a killer or cult hero in any way- he’ll go down in history as a footnote in the life of people that he copied. That’s all. He’s just a pathetic little man that is only big in his own mind.
    As a matter of fact, he quit the web- for a day or so. Then he started it back up again and won’t post comments asking about it. I think that he probably lost another fight somewhere. Loser.

  16. daniparry Says:

    He looks like one of those psychotic trnch coat guys that live in their mom’s basement and reads comic books all day because they are too scared to do anything. I am a corpsman in the world’s greatest NAVY and I am unable to express how angry this guy and everything he stands for makes me when I know soldiers personally that have been to Iraq and been injured. They should’ve have put him, saddam, and people like “#1 crook fan” on the same rope.

  17. kristin Says:

    I believe that any person that has those feelings towards our troops and ultimately the government should be treated as the one we fight!!!! He needs to be put away or hung! And I highly doubt he’s still alive! My husband is in the United States Army and not only does he serve but our whole family does! We have 4 boys and tell me that what he’s doing, leaving his children behind to fight for our country, is wrong, I don’t think so!!!!!! There’s not a day that goes by that he doesn’t wish he could be with them and hold them. So Michael Crook if you read this FUCK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Shut the hell up and beat your face bitch!

  18. Puddy_tat Says:

    This guy is a child wanting sooo badly the attention he believes he deserves and at any cost he will get that attention.

    He will post anything and I mean ANYTHING just so can get his 15-min of fame – wanting the spotlight and he wants it at any cost – you can see that he actually attempted to join the military but was denied due not being in able to pass a physical according to the above post.

    So if you can’t join-em I guess you turn on them? This man-child is the worst type of punk with his unresolved anger issues he has now turned into the ultra asshole and FOX has the audacity to put this little shit on the air?

    That should also tell you what type of station FOX is sensationalism is alive and well at that joke of a TV station.

  19. Garcia20 Says:

    Sure I do feel like I wish I could pistol whip Micheal Crook, but he does have the right to say whatever he wants. I’m a soldier (everyone in my family is…) and yes I did feel nauseous with anger and sheer disdain for this gentleman but like I said before, I and many others throughout history have taken and will continue to take bullets to the chest for people like Crook. Whether those bullets be hot brass or denigrating words, ignorance is inevitable.

  20. Prof Says:

    Psychologically, this individual is a psychopath. It is important to understand that he wants to hurt and upset others.

    For this reason, a psychopath’s outbursts have no legitimate worth or value, and are not something to be truly upset about.

    A psychopath is a deformed human on the inside, but we get upset because they look just like one of us on the outside, and naturally expect better.

  21. Charlotte Says:

    Pathetic.

    Besides, what was his point exactly? That men are attracted to college-aged women who like casual sex? NOOO….RLLY?

    I don’t understand why he thought this was “perverted”? Is it that some of them were married? Cheating, on its own, hardly makes someone a pervert.

  22. Fred Says:

    People really need to start checking sites like craiglistcrooks.com before they buy or selling anything on that site. Since craigslist isn’t like ebay with it’s rating system and tying user accounts to an accounts bank account, people can basically go on there anonymously and sell fake crap and never get caught.

  23. Steve Nichols Says:

    Crooks are everywhere and the good ones will always be ahead of the curve, craigslistcrooks.com is good but when doing anything like buying a car etc try to use escrow or something with consumer protection like paypal

  24. Igre Says:

    That person is sick he don’t care if he hurts the feelings of others.

  25. Funny Zara Says:

    who would have known? x

  26. Igrice Says:

    Thanks for sharing this information. That person really sick.

  27. Poruke Says:

    LOL. why sick?

  28. Anonymous Says:

    Have you thought about adding some videos to your article? I think it will really enhance my understanding.

  29. Reggie Says:

    This guy has some genetic defect. He must have been born with hydrocephalus or some sort of congenital disorder. There is something medically wrong with him. Ugly on the outside and on the inside.

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