Foul-mouthed Canadian travel blogger Emil Kaminski, who fanned the media fire-storm over western tourists including Eleanor Hawkins posing naked on Mt Kinabalu, has admitted his story was a hoax and that he left Malaysia before the controversy began.
Timothy Hawkins, the father of Hawkins, told The Associated Press that Kaminski was a halfwit. "What I will say is the guy stirring up a media storm -- the halfwit Canadian guy -- is not doing anyone any favours," he said.
Kaminski posted a series expletive-ridden messages across several social media platforms, relentlessly insulting Malaysian officials and pretending he was one of the naked hikers.
A photo Kaminski now admits was not his, showing the backpackers posing naked on Kinabalu, made its way around the world. He tagged a number of friends in it on Facebook with the message: "Mount Kinabalu. Time of my life."
In another post, showing naked pictures of himself on various mountains, he wrote: "Some deranged prick has linked earthquakes and mountain to nudity. Well apparently I am responsible for the 2015 Nepal earthquake."
When four of ten hikers pictured in the Mt Kinabalu photos were arrested by Malaysian authorities for indecent behaviour, Kaminski suggested he was with them. "Prison food is ok, but no cutlery. When I asked for a spoon, some guy said "You big or little spoon?"" he wrote on Twitter.
In a YouTube video, one of several Kaminski has posted about Mt Kinabalu, the traveller lays bare his hoax, painting himself as a crusader against hypocrisy and superstition.
He claims that he "flared up big time" after reading that Malaysian officials had linked naked photos with the earthquake. "How can someone in a government position be so incredibly stupid in this day and age?" he asked.
In the video blog, Kaminski says he "did not claim to be in Malaysia at the time," despite the series of posts and tweets he published to the contrary.
Kaminski's antagonising posts have been identified as hampering the case of four travellers who have faced charges of indecent behaviour. Malaysian police are still seeking six other tourists who posed with them on Kinabalu.