Fake Modeling Page Proves We Really Need To Talk To Our Kids About Facebook Dangers
Ray McBerry, twice failed candidate for Georgia governor, appears to have taken up a new “hobby.” It involves totally manipulating young women on the internet by reeling them in to his fake modeling company. How cliché can you get? Luckily, one teenager told her mom about the weird interaction, and she busted the creepy internet predator. Yes, I’m calling him a predator. Totally lying to and manipulating young women to get them to disrobe in front of you makes you a predator.
After his failed attempts at running the government, McBerry decided to take up photography. What better way to explore the medium than to create a fake FB modeling page and fake female employees to “scout” young talent? Gross. He created the Girls of Dixie modeling page. It also seems that he created a whole fake person, “Tara O’neil” to communicate with the girls and request things that may sound less creepy when coming from a woman. Things like, “Please don’t think that I’m being disrespectful to your mom or anything but i never allow any of our models to take people to shoots, it just isn’t professional.” Okay. As a professional photographer, I can attest to the fact that there are hordes of people on a professional shoot, but good try, “Tara.”
McBerry – or Tara – sent 18-year-old Kayla Gooch a friend request on Facebook, claiming to have a big client who needed a model for some work. “Tara” mentioned that her big client was Ray McBerry. McBerry now owns a television station in Georgia. Kayla went alone to meet him at his office. There, McBerry suggested a modeling shoot at a local park. They have a Facebook exchange, in which they talk about meeting at the park. He says, “You could either meet me there or meet me at the office and ride down with me in the Camaro lol.” He then sends her photos of women in skimpy bikinis, and asks her for pictures of herself in swimsuits “so I can tell how they look on you.”
The exchange gets creepy fast, when he realizes she intends to bring someone with her to the photo shoot:
Kayla: My mom was wondering if there will be anyone else present during the shoot… Or if it will be just you and me
McBerry: No one else, that’s one of the reasons for shooting the first time at the park, it’s safe for the photographer and the model. It will be outdoors during the daytime. Sorry so late replying, I fell asleep in my recliner watching a movie with my son lol
K: Hahaha that’s okay! No problem! I may bring a friend just to make my mom feel better! Haha. She would come but she has school!
M: Kayla, quite honestly if you’re not comfortable shooting together without bringing someone with you then we should probably just not shoot together. I’ve never had anyone bring someone to a shoot before or be uncomfortable shooting with me. Please let me know this afternoon by 5 if we need to cancel so that I can book some appointments for work. I had planned to take the time off from work to do the shoot
K: The only portion I’m not comfortable with is the bathing suit part. Just because of family and friends. I don’t mind anything else!
M: That is something completely different than being uncomfortable with not having someone with you; it’s now a totally separate objection. You’re a very sweet person and seem very mature. I am not angry with you whatsoever but you were ok with everything yesterday since we planned the shoot together. Obviously someone else is wanting to change the shoot, not you. Quite honestly, I would rather not shoot together if you’re not able to make the decision for yourself.
Although I would hope that you would want to post the photos from our shoot on your facebook page after you get them back, I can understand if you choose not to post swimsuit photos, although honestly, you already have quite a few in your facebook photos from what I saw. That would almost seem hypocritical.
“Tara” then chimes in to say “Please don’t think that I’m being disrespectful to your mom or anything but i never allow any of our models to take people to shoots, it just isn’t professional.” I’ll reiterate here that no one can find this “Tara.” Mom showed up at the shoot and confronted McBerry – where he claimed he really wasn’t doing anything with the pictures, it was just a “hobby.” It was like the mom version of the news crew that shows up to bust your bunk business. Pretty awesome.
Kayla is 18 years old – so creepy men flirting with her trying to meet up on the internet isn’t a crime. But the story just shows that we need to be diligent about teaching our kids these creeps are out there.
(photo: Fox 29 News)