‘Goncharov’: The Fake Scorcese Film You Haven’t Seen — Or Have You?

Mx. Paulson pointed out Tumblr users have a rich history of this very particular brand of creativity, recalling how users several years ago created a similarly real fandom for “Squiddles,” a fictional TV show within the universe of the web comic “Homestuck.” But for some Tumblr users, it can be frustrating to be on the outside of inside jokes when other users refuse to cave and admit the thing they are talking about isn’t real.

That’s not what’s happening with “Goncharov” though, according to Dani Mays, an illustration student in Kansas City, Mo. “When that happens, it feels like they’re laughing at your expense, watching you get increasingly frustrated at the dissonance and taking that frustration as part of the bit, turning you into part of the punchline,” Ms. Mays, 24, wrote in a popular post on Tumblr. “I’m not seeing any of that with Goncharov, at least as far as the more popular users participating in it.”

“The fact that people are so willing to break the joke long enough to tell people what’s going on and then bring people into the fold, so to speak, is nice,” Ms. Mays added in a phone interview with The Times.

How the title “Goncharov” came to be on the boot’s tag in the first place continues to be a mystery. Michael Littrell, a musician from Minneapolis, has a theory. After seeing the boots floating around Tumblr for years, Mr. Littrell, who studied journalism in college, started investigating in October and eventually came across an Italian producer named Domenico Procacci. (The same producer named by the boots.) From there, he connected the dots to a 2008 film called “Gomorrah,” about Italian organized crime.

Mr. Scorsese was not the director, but according to Mr. Littrell, 24, and a years-old story from The Hollywood Reporter, “Gomorrah” had a presentation credit from the famed director when it arrived in the United States.

A poster Mr. Littrell found in his search reads “Martin Scorsese Presents” at the top and is stylized much the same as the boots’ label, with Mr. Scorsese’s name in red and the title of the film in capitalized black letters. The director of “Gomorrah” is Matteo Garrone. Who shares a first name with Matteo JWHJ0715.

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