The evidence that “America’s Got Talent” contestant Timothy Poe failed to tell the truth about his military service continues to mount.
As TMZ reports, a photo of a soldier shown during Poe’s audition is not Poe at all, but rather a different soldier altogether (see image below).
Staff Sgt. Norman Bone — the man who’s actually pictured in the photo — contacted the website to set the record straight. And he’s not happy about the case of mistaken identity.
“First thing that came to my mind was ‘Why would this lying son of a bitch do this?'” Bone, who serves in El Paso, Texas, told TMZ. “I’m absolutely furious. Been seeing red all day.”
The photo has been posted on the Department of Defense’s website, bearing the caption, “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.”
(SFC. Dexter D. Clouden/U.S. Dept. of Defense)
The caption goes on to identify Bone as “a patrol leader for the 561st Military Police Company, Fort Campbell, Ky., attached to 10th Mountain Division.”
A spokesman for FremantleMedia, “America’s Got Talent’s” production company, apologized for the error in a statement provided to TheWrap, noting that the photo “was supplied to us by Tim and used on the show in good faith. It has now been removed and will not be used again.”
The latest revelation adds further fuel to speculation that Poe is embellishing his military record.
During his audition, Poe claimed that he sustained brain damage that left him with a speech impediment from a grenade blast while serving. However, a spokesman for the Minnesota National Guard refuted Poe’s claim, saying that, while Poe did serve his country overseas, there is no record of the injury he described on the show.
“His military records indicate that he served with the Minnesota National Guard in Kosovo from Oct. 10, 2007 until July 15, 2008, and was deployed to Afghanistan from July 28, 2009 to Aug. 30, 2009,” Minnesota National Guard spokesman Lt. Col. Kevin Olson said in a statement. “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. The Minnesota National Guard can also confirm that he was not awarded the Purple Heart Medal for wounds sustained in combat.”
Poe has maintained that his story is true.