Global Voices Managing Director forced into hiding after April Fool's iPhone prank

For Georgia “GAP” Popplewell, Managing Director of international blogging project Global Voices, the e-mail she sent to the community mailing list announcing that free iPhones would be given to all contributors seemed like a harmless enough April Fool's prank. Certain members of the community, however, failed to see the humour, calling the prank, “lame”, “heartless” and “something only a person with a sick, warped sense of humour would do.”


The offending e-mail. "These characters actually think I know Steve Jobs??" said Popplewell. "Incredible."

“It's a cruel joke,” said one contributor, who admitted to being so excited by the e-mail that she tossed her 3-year old Nokia into a nearby lake before reading the critical second paragraph.

“I always knew GAP was an evil person,” said another, “and this heinous act confirms it. Now what I am supposed to do with this expensive calfskin iPhone case and Bluetooth headset I ran out and purchased?”

Another contributor said he knew deep down that the message was a fake, but a medical condition that renders him powerless in the face of e-mails offering free merchandise prevented him from seeing the truth. Several other contributors admitted to being afflicted with a similar ailment, including one person who commissioned 250 iPhone cases from a collective of indigenous weavers in his community that he planned on selling to his colleagues. “I would have made 1300% profit on those cases,” said the contributor. “GAP owes me big time.”


One enterprising Global Voices contributor commissioned 250 of these iPhone cases from indigenous weavers in his community. They're now available for purchase on eBay and Etsy

Yet none of the GV contributors we talked to claimed to know the identity of the community member who issued the death threat that forced GAP to leave her Trinidad and Tobago residence and seek refuge in an undisclosed location by noon on April Fool's day, though one person said that it “sounds like something somebody on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) team would do—but don't tell anybody I said that!”

When interviewed on the matter, MENA editor Amira Al-Hussaini said “I don't wish to point fingers, but if I did, I'd point them in the direction of South Asia.” In a statement issued on the forum of the newly established web site, the South Asia team formally denied any involvement with the threat, hinting that it was most likely to have originated somewhere closer to GAP's home base, “like perhaps Latin America or—*cough*—the Caribbean.”


Some Global Voices contributors believe Popplewell has taken refuge at a location resembling this

Contributors from the Global Voices regional and language teams yet to be accused of being involved in the threat have since set up another web site ( in addition to a fund to help GAP cover the cost of her stay at the luxury resort where she is rumoured to have taken refuge. The fund, however, was disbanded after it was discovered that payments were being funneled into someone's private PayPal account.


  • Caroline Vasquez

    Let’s go and buy Iphones and bill global voices for this article and the supposed email! Vive the fool e’!

  • GAP – you better have my iPhone ready on hand or else !!! LOL

    [snub]read Pakistan – read Baithullah Masood – read Lashkar-e-Taiba – read …. LOL too many to list out – YES – id take the 3G model or any new version that comes around – YES packed in that lovely weaved packing & YES sugar coated with a lovely ribbon mailed out to muah address in Karachi –

    123 GAP Snub Terror Lane
    3G – I -WON District
    Karachi Pakistan [/snub]

    Loved the April Fools

  • Salman Rushdie

    Have to say that reading this one brought up some real issues for me.

    Best of luck to this GAP person, whoever she is and wherever she may be.

  • Those iphone covers, made by the strong hands of the brave women of Guatemala are the honor of our nation. Thank you for making your order of 250 cases. Our women: heads of households, single mothers and disabled enterpreneurs will be able to make a living in this time of Global Crisis.
    Thanks to your support, we have already begun the expansion of our workshop to include space for more looms and sewing machines for the future orders you mentioned you would be needing for the Global Voices Online Store.

  • Debbie

    Love it! Especially the picture of the likely hideout!

  • joan mckniff

    For all the joking, it was tasteless and very Eurocentric. April Fool’s Day is NOT a global holiday and this joke feels like a nasty way oh having people think for even a minute they might have something they are likely never able to afford. Do this on Face Book etc, but not among these serious contributions.

    • Joan, I’m sorry you found this tasteless and eurocentric, and while I do acknowledge that April Fool’s isn’t observed in every single corner of the world, I think that one would be hard-pressed to find an observance that is actually “global” in the sense that you suggest. I wonder if you’d have had the same reaction, for instance, to a post about el día de los inocentes, (the Latin American equivalent of April Fool’s Day, observed on December 28), which is practically unknown outside of that region.

      I hope you are not also underestimating the capacity of non-Europeans (I’m one myself) to recognize humour and irony when they see it, not to mention the ability to distinguish between “serious” content and posts like the above, especially on April 1, a day that, while not universally observed, is nevertheless widely recognized throughout the world.

      Even in the poorest, most strife-ridden parts of the world people continue to appreciate jokes and the opportunity for laughter.

  • Zictor

    Talk about jornalistic transparency. I can’t start to dream some major media outlets exposing internal frictions like that.

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