Fact Check

Former 'NCIS' Stars Mark Harmon and Pauley Perrette Wrongly Featured in False 'Affair' Ad

Here's what we found out about an online ad that featured both an evidence-free romance claim and also a doctored photo of actor Pauley Perrette.

Published Dec 28, 2023

Actress Pauley Perrette and actor Mark Harmon arrive at the CBS, The CW, Showtime & CBS Television Distribution 2014 Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour at Pacific Design Center on July 17, 2014 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Barry King/FilmMagic) (Barry King/FilmMagic)
Image Via Barry King/FilmMagic
Claim:
An online ad accurately reported that former "NCIS" actor "Mark Harmon had an affair" and hints with photos that co-star Pauley Perrette was involved.

In late December 2023, an ad was displayed on an unknown number of websites that showed former "NCIS" actors Mark Harmon and Pauley Perrette. The ad's caption read, "Mark Harmon had an affair. Producers hid this from fans of 'NCIS' for years."

Prior to leaving the show in different years, Harmon portrayed the character of Leroy Jethro Gibbs, while Perrette had played Abby Sciuto.

An online ad claimed that Mark Harmon had an affair and that it involved someone like Pauley Perrette on NCIS and said producers hid it from fans for years.

The ad led to a lengthy, ad-filled article on yourroyals.com. The story appeared to have originally been published in 2021, which made some of its contents old news. The headline read, "This is Why So Many 'NCIS' Cast Members Left the Show."

Nowhere in the very long article did its text reveal information about an affair involving Harmon, who has been married to actor Pam Dawber since 1987. It was all clickbait, plain and simple.

Further, the photo in the ad that depicted Perrette in a bikini had been doctored. Perrette's face had been added on top of model Karla Spice's body, as can be seen in the original picture of Spice on another website. (Warning: This website contains some nudity.)

Perrette previously posted on X about the existence of the fake picture, calling it "silly."

The reason why these kinds of misleading ads and lengthy articles exist is for something known as advertising arbitrage.

Advertising arbitrage is a strategy in which an advertiser hopes to make more money on ads displayed in a lengthy article than it would cost to display an initial clickbait ad meant to attract users to the article. In other words, instead of the ads being both attractive and potentially helpful to consumers, they instead mislead users from the start.

Note: If readers would like to report any strange or misleading ads on Snopes, we invite you to contact us. Please include the full link of the website where the questionable ad led to so that we can attempt to investigate and potentially block any such ads.

Sources

Fillingham, Hanna. “NCIS’ Mark Harmon Disagrees with Wife as He Makes Unexpected Confession about Marriage.” HELLO!, 17 Oct. 2022, https://www.hellomagazine.com/film/20221017154394/ncis-mark-harmon-shock-confession-personal-life-disagrees-with-wife/.

Liles, Jordan. “Snopes Tips: How To Avoid Ad Arbitrage Clickbait.” Snopes, 2 Jan. 2022, https://www.snopes.com/articles/387913/avoid-ad-arbitrage-clickbait/.

“NCIS.” IMDb.com, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0364845/.

@PauleyP. X, 10 Sept. 2020, https://twitter.com/PauleyP/status/1304055691087282176.

Jordan Liles is a Senior Reporter who has been with Snopes since 2016.