Hoaxed

4.8/5

Critic Rating

Introducing... Hoaxed, the new series from Alexi Mostrous and Tortoise, who brought you Sweet Bobby.In 2014, two children told police a shocking story: that they were being abused by a Satanic cult; a cult headed by their father and by parents and teachers at their school in the wealthy London suburb of Hampstead. The story was a lie. But on the internet, that didn't matter. Hoaxed is an investigation into one of Britain's most serious-ever conspiracy theories. A story about a modern-day Satanic panic; about the victims whose lives were destroyed and about the conspiracists who spread the lie around the...


Critic Reviews

Score: 4.9

Lucy White • Independent.ie Jan 29, 2023

"...with darker subject matter. Though grim, it’s a must-listen for it’s high quality investigation of one community at war with the worldwide web."

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Score: 5

PR Staff • The Podcast Review Blog Nov 2, 2022

"...a spectacular new podcast series...Hoaxed never loses sight of the larger picture, and Mostrous draws a compelling connection between age-old Satanic panic and its Internet-Age descendant."

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Score: 4.9

John Phipps • The Spectator Oct 15, 2022

"Hoaxed is three brilliantly researched and tightly told episodes – with a fourth to come, at the time of writing – that shocked and moved me far more than I anticipated. Hoaxed is an impressive piece of journalism, one that keeps its moral balance on extremely slippery terrain. But like so much writing about conspiracies, it sometimes struggles to look directly at the bigger picture."

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Score: 4

James Marriot • The Times UK Oct 7, 2022

"The calibre of the team matters, because this story is even more demonically confusing than the last one. The story is lurid in all the awful ways it has to be to keep the momentum of a podcast of this kind going. If you’ve spent the past year searching for the next Sweet Bobby, you don’t have to look any further. This is it."

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Score: 4

Anna Leszkiewicz • New Statesman Oct 5, 2022

"Still, I felt queasy: at these specific clips (evidence of a different kind of abuse in and of themselves), and the podcast as a whole. People were drawn to this theory by salacious words: “Satanist”, “paedophile”, “conspiracy”. This, too, attracts listeners to Hoaxed as grim entertainment. It’s impossible to “disprove” a conspiracy theory – you can only feed it. Hoaxed is thoroughly researched and thoughtfully reported; perhaps later episodes will reveal the show’s wider significance. But as of now, I’m not sure what purpose an “investigation” like this can serve. "

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Score: 5

Patricia Nicol • The Times UK Sep 25, 2022

"Hoaxed involves duplicity and subterfuge on a far grander scale. Narratively, Mostrous picks a careful path, giving enough lurid detail...If it is a confidence trick, it’s a classy one straight from the Jon Ronson playbook. So far this is a gripping, deftly told tale of how misinformation can spread like contagion."

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Score: 5

Alexi Duggins • The Guardian Sep 22, 2022

"...troubling look at conspiracy theories...It’s intelligent, compelling and measured, following two Hampstead children’s fictional claims that they were victims of a satanic paedophile cult."

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Score: 5

Stefano Montali • The Guardian Sep 22, 2022

"Draper was compelling in their multiple interviews. However, Mostrous increasingly noticed Draper using the language of the conspiracy theorist. The dichotomy – between charming mother and sinister plotter – was intriguing. As Mostrous follows the story, he ends up delving deep into the intricacies of conspiracy theory propagation."

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Score: 5

Ximena Smith • Stuff NZ Sep 18, 2022

"With Tortoise Media’s Head of Investigations, Alexis Mostrous, at the helm again, Hoaxed so far has the same investigative rigour and attention-to-detail as last year’s Sweet Bobby series. Mostrous particularly deserves credit for his in-depth interviews with some of the key figures who perpetuated the hoax, as he tries to understand their point-of-view (while still not letting them off the hook)."

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