Timothy Poe, the stuttering veteran soldier and crowd favorite on America’s Got Talent, left nary a dry eye in the audience during his emotional audition this week. A photo of a soldier overseas was showed during his audition. There’s just one problem. That soldier isn’t Poe. The real McCoy in the photo? Very upset about it.
The photo is of one Staff Sgt. Norman Bone, who told TMZ that he heard about the photo from his wife who was watching Talent. At first, Bone shrugged it off as a tribute to all the troops, and didn’t give it any more of his attention. Then on Tuesday, one of his Afghanistan buddies Facebooked him, advising him to check the clip out for himself online. He did, and now he’s extremely upset about it.
The El Paso, Texas-based Bone told TMZ, “First thing that came to my mind was ‘Why would this lying son of a bitch do this,'” adding, “I’m absolutely furious. Been seeing red all day.”
Bone says he doesn’t know Poe from Adam, and is talking with the Army’s legal department to explore his options.
But how do we know that it’s not Poe? The photo was originally posted on the U.S. Department of Defense website, with a caption that reads, “U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Norman Bone directs movement as his patrol turns around on a narrow path in the mountains of Parwan province in Afghanistan on Oct. 25, 2006.” So there’s that.
Poe stands by his story, claiming that he got his stutter from a combat injury while serving overseas. So far, zero of the major media outlets have been able to drum up anything that supports Poe’s story. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. As with TMZ, a lot of damning evidence is cropping up. The Minnesota National Guard released a statement saying, “Sgt. Poe’s official military records do not indicate that he was injured by a grenade in combat while serving in Afghanistan in 2009, as he reports.”
Adding fuel to the fire is Poe’s ex-wife, who doesn’t even think he has a speech impediment at all. “There were no combat injuries,” she says. “I think he developed a ‘feel sorry for me’ stutter.”
TMZ gave Poe a chance to prove his story. They asked for something, anything, that can corroborate his story. He told them he can’t release anything for legal reasons. Since Bone’s reaction, he hasn’t said anything to them at all.
It’s sad what some people will do to get famous.