Aleksey Vayner



Aleksey Vayner (born Aleksey Garber) is an Uzbekistan-born student at Yale University, known for having sent a résumé to UBS AG that included the URL for an inadvertently comical online video, titled "Impossible is Nothing". In the video, Vayner discusses his philosophy of success, shows off his physical prowess, and dances with a scantily-clad woman. The woman, known as "Nansi", wrote IvyGate "to set the record straight on her role in the video," and explained that the outfit was standard for dance competitions, "nothing out of the extraordinary in the ballroom world."

Since their circulation began in October 2006, the résumé and video have been discussed on the web, television, and in print media world-wide. The story first broke widely on the Ivy League blog IvyGate, and was picked up by many mainstream outlets, including The New York Times, Metro paper, Fox News New York Post, The Sun, Daily Mail, MarketWatch, U.S. News and World Report, The New Yorker, and other global media.

In his résumé Vayner claims that he runs a charitable organization, is the CEO of an investment firm and has written a book on the Holocaust, among other things. Bloggers claim to have shown many of these claims to be false:

* His investment firm's website lists a non-existent address, and the charitable organization is using an unauthorized Charity Navigator logo. The president of Charity Navigator has stated that he believes Vayner should be expelled from Yale for this. Vayner defended himself to the New York Times by saying the logo had been added to his website by developers "in India and Pakistan", and that he had played no role in adding it.

* Excerpts of Vayner's self-published book, Women's Silent Tears, a "unique gender-focused perspective on the Holocaust in Eastern Europe" made available for free at Lulu.com, show that at least some of its content had been plagiarized from an online Holocaust encyclopedia and other sources. Vayner responded that the text at Lulu was an early draft of the book, and that the final version would have been worded differently.

The video shows Vayner lifting free weights marked 120 pounds, with captions claiming the weights are 140 pounds each. In the next section Vayner is shown bench pressing, with captions claiming the weight to be 495 pounds. Later it shows him serving a tennis ball, again with captions claiming the speed of the serve to be 140 miles per hour. Vayner is also seen ballroom dancing. The video contains one scene with a masked skier. In another scene, a person, shown only from the waist down, splits a stack of bricks with his bare hand followed by a dissolve to a shot of Vayner bowing martial arts style to the camera.

No proof has yet been found to verify Vayner's participation in these events, and Vayner tellingly sought to buy skiing footage on Craigslist before the video was produced. Vayner defends himself by saying that his Craigslist posting was intended only to find a good cameraman, and insists that all the physical feats shown in the video are really his, with the exception of the skiing, which he thinks is "probably" him.

Before Vayner's freshman year had begun, his tendency to lie was discussed in an article in Rumpus, a Yale humor magazine. He apparently had visited as a high school senior and told unbelievable stories about himself. Among his reported claims to people on campus, or to the public, starting with this initial visit to Yale:

* He claimed that he "is one of four people in the state of Connecticut qualified to handle nuclear waste".
* He was employed by both the Mafia and the CIA during his childhood.
* He gave tennis lessons to Harrison Ford, Sarah Michelle Gellar, and Jerry Seinfeld. He further claims to have won two games in a tennis match against Pete Sampras.
* He is a specialist in "Chinese orthopedic massage".
* The Dalai Lama had apparently written his college recommendation.
* He has killed two dozen men in Tibetan gladiatorial contests.
* He claimed to be "an action star, an espionage expert, and a professional athlete. He would be on the C.I.A. firing range one day and at a martial-arts competition that took place in a secret system of tunnels underneath Woodstock, New York the next."

In addition, Vayner apparently arranged for a film he had made about Zen Buddhism to be displayed in a Yale class on Eastern philosophy. The film included "b-roll of Vayner performing various physical feats of questionable veracity".

Vayner responds that most of these claims come merely from the Rumpus article, and contends that the author of that piece, Jordan Bass, had never interviewed him before writing it. Bass stated in the original article, and again after the video was circulated, that his article had merely cataloged the outlandish stories Vayner told him personally.

On 2006-10-09, Vayner sent emails under the subject "Cease and Disist Notification" to YouTube and other websites hosting copies of his video. IvyGate reports that the letters themselves had been plagiarized from online sources, and that the lawyers Vayner cc'd in the letters denied representing him. Vayner also said he was exploring the possibility of suing various parties for invasion of privacy, but when checked by the Wall Street Journal, the lawyer to whom he referred in connection with these suits also denied that she represented him.

UBS has stated that it will launch an internal investigation to discover how Vayner's letter and résumé were leaked. Vayner claims to have been extensively harassed as a result of the video's publicity, has taken a leave of absence from Yale, and has hired counsel to explore the possibility of suing UBS.

On 2006-10-19 Vayner was interviewed by the New York Times' online financial news report DealBook, accompanied by his lawyer, Christian P. Stueben, and his sister, Tamara Garber, a New York real estate developer, who is also listed as director of Vayner's purported charity, Youth Empowerment Strategies. In the interview, Vayner defended the athletic feats depicted in the video as genuine, and his charity and investment firm as legitimate, although he admited he currently lacks an investment dealer's license. He disavowed any connection to the more outlandish claims made about him and, together with his lawyer, confirmed that he is considering legal action against UBS for breaching the confidentiality normally associated with a job application, a breach he claimed has dimmed his employment prospects, exposed him to ridicule, and resulted in multiple invasions of his privacy.

Advertising executive Donny Deutsch said on MSNBC that he "would hire this guy sight unseen."

In late 2006, a parody of Vayner's video resume was released featuring Michael Cera of Arrested Development, entitled "Impossible is the Opposite of Possible."Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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