Debunking a Matt Riddle-Candy Cartwright conspiracy theory

This is super dumb, but it still needs to be addressed.

Pete Dunne looks on in confusion as Matt Riddle does Matt Riddle things. (Photo:

The other day, when I tweeted about how I found Dave Meltzer’s coverage of the Matt Riddle-Samantha “Candy Cartwright” Tavel case to be somewhat frustrating, I got multiple replies saying that Tavel had been caught fabricating text message screenshots. Even before we get into the weeds on this, it doesn’t make much sense because the only text message screenshots she texted were to prove that she and Riddle had indeed had an affair. The affair that everyone involved ended up publicly admitting was real. But why did these people think she had been “caught” fabricating texts?

I soon realized that it was because of something that I discussed last time: That when Tavel initially tweeted one screenshot that contained the phone number belonging to Riddle’s wife, Lisa (seemingly by accident), she quickly deleted it before reposting a version that redacted the phone number and cropped out the bottom of the image. That cropped out part contained a space for a banner ad and a “Remove Ads” button. Somehow, a bunch of people drew the conclusion that this button was indicative of an app used to create faux text message screenshots. Why? I have no idea. Nobody ever isolated an app that it could possibly be.

Anyway, someone messaged me to tip me off that they did know what the app was: TextNow, a “second phone number” app akin to Sideline or Google Voice, and which offers an ad-supported free version. I downloaded the app, signed up, tried it out, and…yeah, it’s clearly the same app, if just based on the “Remove Ads” button design. Don’t believe me? Just compare the below screenshots. Aside from minor user interface differences (like which side of the screen new messages populate from) and some non-in-app differences (like the position of the clock/carrier info/battery status/notification icons at the top of the screen) from the screenshots being taken on different phones with different operating systems, it’s the same app. Hell, it even fits with Matt Riddle’s allegations that Tavel used a “burner” number if you really want to look at it that way!

First, here’s Tavel’s original screenshot of the Lisa Riddle texts, just with her phone number redacted:

And here’s a screenshot I took today using my new TextNow number to text my personal cell number (redacted; it’s listed in my contacts as “Voicemail,” as many phones tend to name it automatically):

Crucially, the “Remove Ads” button design in the bottom-right of the screen is identical in both. (Tavel’s screenshot appears to have been taken as the ads were in the process of refreshing, as there’s space for a banner ad but no actual ad.)

This isn’t that difficult. Don’t jump to conclusions. Don’t believe baseless claims. There’s no evidence that Tavel tweeted a faked screenshot, and the app she used when Lisa Riddle texted her has nothing to do with it the authenticity of the screenshots. They’re real, and there’s no point in even arguing about those screenshots because they were tweeted specifically as proof of the affair, which Riddle has admitted to.