A 23-year-old Charlotte woman apologized on Thursday for claiming she shot the photo of a snake ball that went viral on Facebook. A different woman took the photo.
In interviews with The Charlotte Observer and its news partner, WBTV, Christine Proffitt had said she took the photo Monday morning on her daily run with her dog, Raven, along Little Sugar Creek Greenway near Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte.
“I try to get there early enough when it’s still cool outside, but I got a late start this morning and it was warm enough for all the snakes!” Proffitt told the Observer on Twitter Monday night. “I tend to see at least 4-5 but I’ve never seen them in a bunch like that!”
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Proffitt acknowledged to the Observer and WBTV on Thursday that Jessica Jackson of Charlotte took the photo and texted it to her and other friends and acquaintances.
“How gross this is,” Proffitt texted back, Jackson told the Observer on Thursday.
Jackson, a 33-year-old events coordinator, said that when she learned Proffitt had claimed the photo as her own, she texted Proffitt that she felt “a little bummed I didn’t get credit for it, and I feel robbed.”
Jackson said Proffitt apologized to her and that she doesn’t believe Proffitt claimed the photo as her own out of malice.
Proffitt told her that two other women coaxed her into claiming the photo as her own, so one of them could report the story to impress WBTV in hopes of landing a job at the station.
Proffitt reiterated that to the Observer on Thursday. She gave the newspaper the names and phone numbers of the women, who didn’t return calls from the paper. She said she hasn’t been able to reach the women, either, and that the one who was trying to impress WBTV has since made her Facebook page inaccessible.
Still, Proffitt said, there’s no excuse for having claimed Jackson’s photo as her own.
“It was dumb, and terrible judgment on my end,” Proffitt said. “I take full responsibility. There’s no excuse for what I did. I feel so terrible.”
Jackson said she spotted the snake mating ball in the rocks, weeds and grass beside the paved greenway path outside CMC. Although she’s no fan of snakes, Jackson said, the snake ball looked fascinating and she zoomed her Android in from three or four feet away.
“I didn’t realize it would be seen by the whole nation,” she said.