Author of “Sarah” and “The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things”, JT Leroy has established quite a name for himself…or should I say many. Jeremiah “Terminator” Leroy is considered as one of the most intelligent and creative crackerjacks in performing a scandalous hoax, in my book.
And so the story goes: Leroy was a drug addicted teenager who prostituted himself at truck stops before his years of writing. Then fleeing to San Francisco, Leroy turned his stories into work making him a successful writer. But what is most unusual is Leroy had started working with his agents and editors about 5 years before the publication of “Sarah” in 2001 and nobody had ever met Leroy in person. All interviews and discussions were through telephone, email, or fax. Leroy was suspiciously avoiding all means of contact...And it wasn’t until after his publication of “Sarah” that Leroy started making public appearances; distinguished by a bright blonde wig and killer sunglasses. Immediately people started drawing suspicions of Leroy and if that was really him behind the glasses. Not a single record of a JT Leroy or existing family member could be found, not a single road where he supposedly spent his childhood, or a townsman familiar with his name. And when he was questioned, he used his corrupted childhood as an explanation behind the cross-dressing and blonde wigs, as well as his delicate voice on the phone. Every possible twist leading to Leroy was not found... Although it wasn’t until 2005 that the real Jeremiah “Terminator” Leroy was discovered!
In an interview, Geoffrey Knoop admitted that the person behind JT Leroy was Laura Albert. Geoffrey Knoop and Laura Albert were the supposed parents that rescued Leroy as a corrupted teenager. The real deal was Knoop and Albert were not only lovers but the brains behind this all clever hoax. Knoops half sister, Savannah Knoop, was the face of all public appearances as Leroy! And it wasn’t until the couple split that Geoffrey Knoop let the cat out of the bag and Laura Albert was of course charged with fraud. But what it most amazing is not only she twisted everyone’s minds at a flawless level, but she managed to do it for a whopping 10 years! Best believe it!
After the JT Leroy hoax fell apart, years later a fragrance called ‘Trompeur’ by perfumer Yosh Han came about. Before JT Leroy was uncovered, he had contacted Yosh to pair up and create a fragrance of earthy, yet sexual scents to go along with his new book, “The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things”, as that would be the new fragrance name. Only months later, the scandal was released and lawsuits started storming. Yosh quickly dropped her support from the new fragrance. So then the perfume ‘Trompeur’ hit markets not long after. And you ask what does Trompeur mean exactly? French for betrayer, misleading, deceiver (I think it suits just right!) Yosh had revamped the Leroy created perfume under her own brand after some feelings of betrayal. Of course Yosh wont admittingly tell that this fragrance portraits Leroy, but only her biggest fans could put one and one together.
Written By: Courtney Yanick