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Stuttering 'AGT' Contestant

Soldier Photo's A FAKE!!!

6/7/2012 10:05 AM PDT UPDATED: 6/7/2012 12:45 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

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Stuttering "America's Got Talent" contestant Timothy Poe is NOT the soldier in the photo displayed during his tearjerker audition this week -- it's someone else ... and the REAL soldier is pissed.

Staff Sgt. Norman Bone tells TMZ, he first heard about the photo from his ex-wife who was watching "AGT" -- Norman thought it was part of a tribute to the troops ... and didn't think twice about it.

Tuesday night, one of the guys Bone served with in Afghanistan sent him a message on Facebook -- telling him the "AGT" segment  was must-see TV ... so Bone finally checked it out online ... and now, he's livid. (Skip to 1:29 to see the photo)

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Bone -- who currently serves in El Paso, TX -- tells us, "First thing that came to my mind was 'Why would this lying son of a bitch do this?'" ... adding, "I'm absolutely furious. Been seeing red all day."

Bone says he's never even heard of Timothy Poe -- and he's going to meet with the Army legal department to explore his options.

The photo in question was originally posted here -- on the U.S. Department of Defense website -- along with 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."

Timothy Poe has insisted from the beginning his story is legit. We called him about the photo. He hasn't gotten back to us.

update_bar
12:40 PM PT: A rep for FreemantleMedia -- the production company behind "AGT" -- tells TMZ, "We sincerely apologize to U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Norman Bone for using a photo of him in our story on Tim Poe. It 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."

223 COMMENTS

No Avatar
16.

t.r.    

How dare this little twerp do that to our military. They are giving their lives for our freedom, and he abuses that for fame on some lame tv contest. Send him to some third world **** hole to see how he likes it. Loser.

783 days ago
17.

Andy    

This is not an exclusive. The This Ain't Hell has had this story broken since this morning. You guys at TMZ are all a bunch of *******s

783 days ago
18.

Stiletto    

Well...he's toast as a singer. But if he can improve his ability to lie to a mass audience, there is always politcs.

783 days ago
19.

craig    

I wonder if the stutter is real

783 days ago
20.

desorden    

Who gives a flying crap!!!!!!!!!!!!

783 days ago
21.

akm    

I would agree that he has brain damage.

783 days ago
22.

Troy    

Hey there TMZ...

Why dont you credit your source?

783 days ago
23.

Troy    

Hey TMZ....

Why dont you cite your sources?

783 days ago
24.

parlayer    

I'm gong to say nothing about this, "Nothing"

783 days ago
25.

SuzieBoozie    

Many people who have left comments here have jumped to the conclusion that Timothy Poe provided those photos to NBC. After watching the segment, I believe NBC exploited Poe in an attempt to create a human interest story that would go viral. As Poe told his story about his time in the military, and the attack that injured him, it's very likely NBC chose to show random photographs that Poe had never even seen before. If this is what happened, NBC owes Staff Sgt. Bone and Poe (I don't know his rank) a formal, public apology.

783 days ago
26.

USMCSAVE    

I knew it when he had no paper work!! Now everything put down it paper!! That's what the marines do. You have to understand that Vietnam vets and the past wars vets didn't have what we have now as far as paper work!! Every marine knows you keep all your paper work when you get out because we don't want to get screwed you have to show it to the VA it makes things a little easy just a little. You can still go to the VA but it makes things alot harder and alot longer to get service connected , That's why before you get out you have to go to BAS to report everything that's wrong with you and if you don't then that is your fault.. Every unit is different some got purple hearts for just getting cut when a IED went off some didn't some for TBI some didn't . A marine got a NAM for a doing his job when we got contact a lot of marines in my unit didn't know why because we all did the same thing but maybe because he fired off first because he was on fire watch. Same thing happen to one other marines and no NAM. No one knows but the people in the military and if you were never in it then keep your pie whole shut

783 days ago
27.

Fuck Celebrities    

A good sh1t kicking is in order.

783 days ago
28.

TexasGirl    

Coming to this guy's defense, it looks like the AGT producers are at fault. My guess is that they put together the photo montage based on pics that were publicly available on the U.S. Dept. of Defense website (as noted in the TMZ report). You'll notice that all of the other pictures are group shots, from the back, or from far away. They made the mistake of picking a photo in which the soldier could be identified by loved ones. Poe probably never even saw the montage until after the episode aired. I feel bad, because he's being made out to be a fraud, when my guess is he's the hapless victim of a self-serving production team run amok.

783 days ago
29.

Don Martin    

I think there is a little bit of drama queenery going on here. Although Poes people may or may not have been required to get permission to use the photo, nowhere does anyone communicate that the photo was Poe. This is nothing different than the press and TV people do all the friggen time. Second, there is not one bit of evidence that Poe lied about his military history or experiences. So, before all the witch hunters go stringing anyone up, how about we wait for the truth rather than manufacturing it.

783 days ago
30.

Breach    

Good job sourcing the information. TSO over at This Aint Hell (thisainthell.us) is the one who actually broke this story. Way to give credit where credit is due.

783 days ago
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