Nyad Fans Wield Baloney In Her Defense

After the announcement of a Diana Nyad biopic, skeptics confronted Nyad fans with facts. The believers responded with nonsense.

On March 4, Diana Nyad announced that Nyad, a biopic about her favorite subject — and mine, for better or worse —  would begin filming this summer. While her fans cheered the announcement, a few skeptics tried to inject some reason into the festivities. In particular, they questioned the legitimacy of Diana Nyad’s Cuba-Florida swim. For example:

This did not please Nyad’s devotees.  I saved some of their replies and have listed them below.

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Nyads in Hollywood

Diana Nyad likes to be first: the first woman to swim around Manhattan Island, for instance, or the first person to swim unassisted from Cuba to Florida, or even the first entry in a non-existent database of abuse survivors.

But she won’t be the first charlatan who duped Hollywood. She won’t even be the first Nyad to do it.

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1976 first-edition cover.

The Walt Disney Company optioned a fraudulent memoir, Monique De Wael’s Misha: A Mémoire of the Holocaust Years, but didn’t go ahead with production. Oprah loved Herman Rosenblat’s Angel at the Fence, which producer Harris Salomon of Atlantic Overseas Pictures intended to spend $25 million adapting—until the book turned out to be a hoax. However, Asa Earl Carter’s The Education of Little Tree, another fraud, became a well-regarded film. That doesn’t bode well for trying to keep an illegitimate Nyad off the screen.

And what is it with people like De Wael and Rosenblat who, according to genealogist and hoax researcher Sharon Sergeant, “exploit human tragedy for personal gain”? Given Diana Nyad’s experience in this area, perhaps she can let us know.

While we wait for Diana’s explanation, let’s look at the first Nyad to con members of the movie industry.

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Nyad: The Motion Picture (pre-Facebook-Live briefing)

“I’ve been approached now for the feature film, and there are a number of A-list Hollywood people. I, [I’m] just running in the other direction.” (KQED, 26 Oct 2015, clip here)

I suspect that Diana Nyad was not truthful when she said that five years ago.

Tomorrow, March 10 (Wednesday) at 3 p.m., Nyad will chat live on Facebook about her recently-announced biopic, away from which she does not appear to be running.

Before your watch party begins, here’s your chance to brush up on Nyad’s cinematic history.

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