RALEIGH, N.C. – It was all a hoax.
The Valentine's Day breakup of two North Carolina college students that became an instant hit on YouTube.com wasn't a breakup at all. The students weren't even dating.
Ryan Burke, a senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, came clean Monday and told The Charlotte Observer that the whole thing was a staged publicity stunt.
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Burke said Mindy Moorman, whom he supposedly dumped with the help of singers in front of a massive crowd on the UNC Chapel Hill campus, has been dating another man for two years. Moorman is a sophomore at North Carolina State University in nearby Raleigh.
Burke said the breakup was an experiment to show the power of Internet communities and the amount of money that companies make from them. He also wanted to generate attention for a company he and a roommate hope to start to promote musicians.
The breakup garnered plenty of attention, including more than 747,000 hits on YouTube, where users post video online, and local and national media coverage.
"The fact that actual news agencies are interested was a surprise," Burke said. "We did think it would get some media attention but not from those outlets (like newspapers)."
The two said they were supposed to admit the breakup was a scripted experiment during an interview on ABC's "Good Morning America" on Tuesday, but the segment was canceled.
Last week, Burke claimed he and Moorman had been dating for four months but that he broke up with her because of alleged infidelity.
He attracted a crowd by promoting the event on the social networking Web site facebook.com., and hundreds of students and several photographers were among the spectators.
When Moorman arrived, an a cappella group sang the Dixie Chicks' hit "I'm Not Ready to Make Nice."
When Burke dumped her, Moorman's response was an angry rant filled with expletives.
Burke, 22, said Monday that he wanted to show that the media "don't always accurately gauge what teenage and college kids are interested in."
Moorman also said she didn't expect such a big reaction.
"No, never, never, ever," said Moorman, 21.
Moorman's only regret: She cursed too much.