Strap in tight for this extremely strange, slightly complicated internet tale: Peter Coffin is an aspiring comedian on YouTube who picked a fight with the wrong blogger. Xiaxue, also known as Wendy Cheng, is the Singaporean writer proceeding to possibly ruin Coffin’s life, beginning yesterday in a post titled “Peter Coffin is a loser,” after Coffin made hateful comments on Twitter to Xiaxue about her appearance, specifically her recent nose job. When Xiaxue blocked Coffin, she was then attacked online by a woman named “Kimi Kobayashi,” who appeared to be Coffin’s girlfriend, at least on the internet. Then it all unraveled: Kobayashi is fake and may very well be Coffin himself. Embarrassing evidence of their “relationship,” though, is now strewn far and wide across the web.
Xiaxue has exhaustively chronicled the case of Kobayashi on her blog, complete with screenshot after screenshot of suspicious interactions between the supposed Japanese woman and her comedian boyfriend. Under the Twitter name @Kim_Kobayashi, since closed down, someone posted many photos of a woman claiming to be Kimi, complete with captions (usually Asian jokes) and wrote endless one-liners sounding suspiciously like Peter Coffin’s own humor.
Though she appeared to be an 18-year-old Japanese girl living in New York, many photos of Kobayashi supposedly taken in Japan included Korean text in the background. Xiaxue thinks she figured out who the woman in the photos is: “Her name is Lee Na Young. She is not Japanese, probably not 18, not Kimi Kobayashi, and most definitely not dating Peter Coffin!”
From there, Xiaxue continues to pile on evidence that Coffin was in fact running two online personae, one as himself and one pretending to be his own girlfriend.
Conversations between Kobayashi and Coffin take place on a variety of platforms, including Twitter, Tumblr and YouTube, and range from racist jokes to sexual innuendo. Kobayashi’s Asian race is constantly mentioned and mocked. Based on Xiaxue’s online detective work, Coffin was “dating” Kobayashi for eight months.
On his own Twitter account, Coffin attempted to defend himself, writing that he was fooled by someone pretending to be Kobayashi. He’s not entirely believable:
I attempted to stop this privately with Xiaxue, who she seems quite intent on ruining me. Kimi is not me, I’m not sure who she is.
I honestly wanted to work it out, but you can’t make something real. I want her to be real. Desperately, even. In fact, that is all I want.
But at this moment, you are attacking me for making something up. I didn’t. I don’t even know how to put what has happened to me.
You can say what you’d like, but you need to know that yes. I did something blind, stupid and embarrassing hanging on to someone…
I didn’t know that long. But I didn’t invent this. I wish I had, but I didn’t.
Listen, if I were that mentally ill to make her up, I’d be dead right now. I didn’t. I’m heartbroken and just dead inside.
I’m not even asking you to do anything. You wanted my explanation, you have it. I probably won’t be posting again for a while. Peace.
A follow-up post from Xiaxue reveals that Coffin sent her a “Cease and Desist Letter” claiming defamation under Singaporean law. The law he cites is incorrect, but Coffin just threw more fuel on the fire, allowing Xiaxue the opportunity to make more fun of him and to cite more examples of interactions between Coffin and the fake Kobayashi.
For instance: “What is the perfect penis size?” someone anonymously asks Kobayashi online. “Peter Coffin can show you,” she responds.
Now, Coffin has taken to the internet news site and message board Reddit to answer questions and defend his honor, maintaining that he did not create Kobayashi. The hive mind does not believe him, mostly because he is not convincing. We reached out to Coffin requesting his side of the story and he pointed us to Reddit, where he says he will be answering questions all evening.
There are few possibilities here about what’s really going on:
1) Peter Coffin is a weird, sick man: he made up a girlfriend and maintained her online presence, outing himself as culturally, socially and sexually ignorant in the process.
2) Another anonymous person made it their mission to trick and embarrass Peter Coffin, only to be outed by a third party, Xiaxue.
3) Xiaxue and Peter Coffin have together created one of the most elaborate internet performance art/hoaxes we’ve ever seen and are now enjoying the attention together.
But it sure looks like Coffin is the fool here — racist, misogynistic and now completely embarrassed. And yet, masochistic, because instead of retreating, he’s continuing to fight it. It’s totally possible he gets off on the attention.
In addition to all of the evidence Xiaxue puts up about Coffin being Kobayashi, the name Kimi Kobayashi sure does sound a lot like Kim Kardashian, a frequent target of Coffin’s comedy scorn. No matter who’s clowning who, Coffin clearly has some complex issues with reality and women, specifically beautiful women, women open about their relationships with plastic surgery and Asians.
In this case, all of the worst things you’ve ever heard about the internet are true. Now, as the pile-on picks up from Twitter to Reddit and beyond, let’s hope Coffin calms down, shuts his computer and gets some help, so this story doesn’t come with a tragic ending.