While the industry will undoubtedly debate the winners and losers from the writers strike, there is one indisputable victor during the 146-day-long work stoppage: the “Fake Carol” Lombardini Twitter/X account.
The self-professed parody account became a viral sensation during strike, taking shots at the president of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, Drew Barrymore and, naturally, the Cheesecake Factory that anchors the Sherman Oaks Galleria, the shopping mall where the group that represents Hollywood’s studios and streamers is based.
Now, the individual who runs the so-called Fake Carol account is speaking about why they have no plans to reveal their identity, what happens to the account now that there’s a tentative WGA deal and the streaming exec who was an early follower. (And no, even this reporter, who slid into “Fake Carol’s” DMs to secure this email interview, doesn’t know their identity).
Who are you?
I’m an incredibly average working-class mid-level writer living in L.A. Mostly comedy.
Do you plan on revealing your identity at any point? Perhaps taking up David Simon on his offer to “drink on the Blown Deadline Productions credit card until we cannot stand”?
No, I don’t plan on publicly revealing my identity, because I don’t think it would be that thrilling of a reveal, and it’s not really about me. “Fake Carol” came from all of us, from WGA leadership, from friends I talked to on the line, from writers whose stories I read on social media — she is all of our collective outrage against the recklessness and cruelty of the AMPTP forcing us into this situation. (But also if the guy who did The Wire wants to slide into Carol’s DMs and go get hammered, who am I to say no?)
How hard has it been keeping the secret?
More weird than hard, but I have a few close friends who know, so it’s been great to at least have a small group of folks I can talk to about it.
Is there part of you that feels that revealing your identity could further your career? On the flip side, do you have concerns that revealing your identity could be damaging for your career?
The honest truth is these past few years have been really slow for me, career-wise, mostly for all the reasons the writers went on strike to save our entire profession. After establishing myself and having some success, the impacts of the shift to streaming have just steadily eroded the ability for me to maintain a stable career. So it’s been kind of a mindf— to read all these people I admire saying such nice and generous things about “Fake Carol” when in reality I’ve been feeling kind of invisible and worthless for a while. I know a lot of the praise is just social media hype, and I’m not sure if anything real will ever come from it, but if nothing else it was nice to feel seen and appreciated in a moment where I think I really needed the encouragement to keep going.
Has anyone correctly guessed who you are?
Two friends correctly figured out it was me, but that was it.
How did this begin for you? What made you want to do it?
I just thought it was funny that someone who had so much power over my life and livelihood was this random lady working on behalf of billionaires from a Sherman Oaks shopping mall. What a strange thing to be.
Have you ever done anything along the lines of “Fake Carol” before?
One time in high school I wrote an anonymous parody thing about a teacher and almost got expelled but they ultimately couldn’t prove it was me.
How did you get into character?
I dunno, I guess I just thought, “What would an increasingly desperate studio negotiator in a losing battle do?” and went from there.
Have you heard from any management or studio-side executives about your parody?
[Amazon’s] Jennifer Salke has been a “Fake Carol” follower from almost the beginning, which I’ve always sort of loved, but she’s never interacted with the account. Very curious what she thinks.
Has anyone fed you information about Carol?
No, not that I can think of.
Have you received any legal letters or any legal advice about the parody?
No, back when “Fake Carol” first started getting noticed, Twitter briefly banned the account, but I responded that it was clearly marked as parody in the bio and they put it back up after an hour or so. Even a broken clock is right twice a day, I guess.
Were there any lines you didn’t feel comfortable crossing?
A random person DM’d me some personal photos of Carol — nothing scandalous, just like her on vacation and stuff — that seemed like maybe they were taken from a family member’s social media, but I never posted them because it felt wrong to me. I did my best to keep the jokes focused on the issues at hand and tried to stay away from anything personal (outside of the few personality quirks I just made up for her), but it wasn’t always the easiest needle to thread.
When the WGA strike officially ends, do you plan on continuing the account during the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike?
I mean, if the AMPTP also tries to break their union by doing ham-handed fear mongering and crisis PR moves that make jokes pop into my head, then probably? But also, I don’t know as much about the specific frustrations the actors have right now, so I probably won’t feel as comfortable chiming in quite so often.
What about when the SAG-AFTRA strike ends?
Then I imagine Carol and “Fake Carol” are both going to want a nice long break. Maybe I’ll just occasionally post the odd random life update or Yelp check-in or her thoughts on how it’s going with IATSE.
What has surprised you about the account?
That I could still find any enjoyment in posting on Elon Musk’s Twitter.
What’s next for you, professionally? Do you have a job to go back to?
Nothing real lined up at the moment. Like everyone, I’m just hoping to get back to work doing what I love.
Lastly, what would you say to the real Carol if you met her?
Babe, you don’t have to keep doing this.