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Setting the record straight

The Farmville Herald incorrectly reported in Wednesday’s edition and online that pop star Justin Timberlake visited Farmville over the weekend and performed at a charity fundraiser at Fuqua School. Rather, it was a Timberlake impersonator. We apologize for the inaccurate reporting. Following is an explanation of how the error occurred.

Kyla Silver, a Herald employee at the time and also the Farmville District Youth Coordinator of the United Methodist Church (UMC) and lay supply pastor of Meherrin UMC, was the charity event organizer. Silver announced that Timberlake (JT), husband of whom Silver described as her longtime friend and modeling career co-worker, Jessica Biel, was going to make a special appearance at one of the shows.

On Saturday Herald reporter Noel Oliver attended the event and took pictures of “Justin Timberlake” during the performance. His request to interview JT was denied by event organizers.

On Monday, Oliver interviewed Silver and was provided details and background that were included in Wednesday’s article.

On Tuesday morning, Silver was asked to review the finished article for accuracy before Wednesday’s edition was printed. A few minor changes were made and the article went to press and was published on our website and Facebook page.

On Tuesday afternoon, we began to receive comments on our Facebook page and through email and text messages from readers questioning whether the performer was the real Justin Timberlake or an impersonator. When questioned, Silver assured us that he was the real Justin Timberlake and not an impersonator. She stated she had been in contact with JT’s publicist about the comments, and they were going to post the article on the official Justin Timberlake website.

A Facebook tip led us to Carbone Entertainment, an agency that provides celebrity impersonators for a fee. On Tuesday afternoon we were able to confirm with the agency’s owner, Karen Carbone, that a Justin Timberlake impersonator from Carbone Entertainment had been hired by a church group and sent to Farmville last weekend. Carbone added, “I can’t say the real Justin Timberlake wasn’t there, but we did send a Timberlake impersonator.”

Silver was presented with the information provided by Carbone Entertainment. She stated that it was her intention for the real JT to come to the show, but it was, in fact, an impersonator who performed.

The Herald reached out to the Rev. Robert “Bob” Parks Jr., UMC Farmville District superintendent, for comment. Parks said the church had received a bill for an impersonator last week, on Tuesday or Wednesday, and realized it wasn’t the real Justin Timberlake coming to the event. Parks stated that when Silver was questioned about advance media coverage and advertising stating JT was coming to the show, she replied, “This is how it’s done in the entertainment world.”

John Melton, head of school for Fuqua School where the charity fundraising event was held, said the school is supportive of the community and in that spirit provided a venue to support a faith-based event.

The Herald also reached out to Sunshine Sachs, the real JT’s publicist for comment, but had not received a reply as of press time.

Silver, who was an advertising sales representative for The Herald, resigned Tuesday.

We apologize again for the error. We are happy to set the record straight.