It appears a Texas news reporter was pranked when she interviewed a University of Houston student calling himself Abu Sharmouta, who claimed to be an eyewitness to a holdup on campus on Friday.

Abu Sharmouta in Arabic translates to “father of a whore.”

Was a Houston Reporter Pranked When She Interviewed an Eyewitness Whose Name Translates to Father of a Whore?

Image source: YouTube

The joke is going viral in the Middle East, appearing on blogs from Morocco to Egypt to Lebanon, trending on Twitter, and has even made it onto an Israeli website. With a large Arabic-speaking population in Israel, even native Hebrew speakers know what “sharmouta” means.

The blog Belle Beirut identified the man as Sayed Jamal Hamideh, a Palestinian who in his Twitter profile calls himself “The one and only…#AbuSharmouta.”

Here’s how he described himself on his apparent Facebook page: “The one and only #AbuSharmouta. Prankster by day. Sexy by night. Palestinian 24/7.”

The KTRK-TV report about the holdup can be seen here in which the alleged eyewitness claimed to have seen three black males “storm in” to the campus hall, two of them wearing red hoodies. He claimed he sprinted out of the building and hid in the bushes for an hour and a half:

Hamideh admitted via Twitter that he was never held at gunpoint, nor did he ever speak with the police. But when the reporter asked to interview him, he obliged.

@ I was never actually held at gunpoint man, sorry to ruin the story haha
Was a Houston Reporter Pranked When She Interviewed an Eyewitness Whose Name Translates to Father of a Whore?
@ThatPancakeKid
Sayed Jamal Hamideh
@ nah, I never spoke to any cops and she asked to interview me haha.
Was a Houston Reporter Pranked When She Interviewed an Eyewitness Whose Name Translates to Father of a Whore?
@ThatPancakeKid
Sayed Jamal Hamideh

The blog Cairo Scene asked why the reporter took his story at face value: “What makes this even funnier is that as soon as the assailants showed up in their dorm, Abu Sharmouta instantly ran out claiming he was ‘hiding in the bushes for an hour and half.’”

“This father of a whore hero wasn’t brave at the time of the incident, but he was brave enough to talk about the incident using a name that highlights how ridiculous easy it is to fool American reporters,” Cairo Scene added.

Hamideh described his motivation as simply to get some laughs:

@ nothing really. Just saw the news there for it so decided I try and troll them. I guess it worked haha.
Was a Houston Reporter Pranked When She Interviewed an Eyewitness Whose Name Translates to Father of a Whore?
@ThatPancakeKid
Sayed Jamal Hamideh
@ so that no one would actually be offended. Just a joke to smooth things over for people at UH during finals week. Nothing more.
Was a Houston Reporter Pranked When She Interviewed an Eyewitness Whose Name Translates to Father of a Whore?
@ThatPancakeKid
Sayed Jamal Hamideh

He reacted with joy that his prank had reached the Middle East.

@ dude this is insane! Never imagined a small joke on innocent blonde to go this viral hahaha
Was a Houston Reporter Pranked When She Interviewed an Eyewitness Whose Name Translates to Father of a Whore?
@ThatPancakeKid
Sayed Jamal Hamideh
Man all this love Im receiving from Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, etc. is truly humbling.Wallahi Im just glad I could put a smile on some faces
Was a Houston Reporter Pranked When She Interviewed an Eyewitness Whose Name Translates to Father of a Whore?
@ThatPancakeKid
Sayed Jamal Hamideh

KTRK-TV did not immediately return a request for comment from TheBlaze.