A rather popular rumor that actress Julia Stiles is transgender appeared in our e-mail in March 2018. These rumors are not based on medical records, personal confessions, or any other type of credible information, but instead spring from a series of clickbait advertisements promoting content about transgender celebrities.
We found at least three different advertisements which use images purportedly showing Julia Stiles before and after gender reassignment surgery. In all cases, the “before” image actually shows actor Ansel Elgort:
According to AdSpider.io (a web site that tracks online advertisements), these ads first appeared online in July 2016, when they were pushed by content recommendation network RevContent. These advertisements truly did redirect to stories about transgender celebrities, such as Caitlyn Jenner and Laverne Cox, but the articles “18 Transgender Celebrities We’ve Come to Admire,” “31 Stars You Forgot Were Transgender” and “18 Transgender Celebs We Knew Nothing About” didn’t actually feature either Julia Stiles or Ansel Elgort.
Elgort acknowledged these rumors in an April 2016 tweet:
— Ansel Elgort (@AnselElgort) April 20, 2016