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Hate Crimes/Terror
THE LATEST BIGOTED NOTE HOAX: Deejays for a New York radio morning show aired a story about two gay dads who had sent out invitations for their daughters birthday party and had received back a note from the mother of one boy saying, "Tommy will NOT attend. I do not believe in what you do and will not subject my innocent son to your 'lifestyle.' I'm sorry Sophia has to grow up this way. If you have an issue or need to speak to me: [number erased]."



Turns out the entire story was made up. The deejays explained that they were staging a publicity stunt to boost ratings "attempting to spur a healthy discourse on a highly passionate topic". Not many people are buying that explanation.

The two deejays, Steve Harper and Leeana Karlson, have now been canned by the station.
Categories: Hate Crimes/Terror
Posted by Alex on Mon Feb 17, 2014
Comments (0)
Philip Kadish, who's completing his Ph.D. in American Lit. at The City University of New York, notes that a 'neglected anniversary' recently passed by: the 150th anniversary of the Miscegenation Hoax of 1864, which, as he notes, was "one of the greatest and least remembered political media hoaxes in American history."

The old hoax is certainly evidence that bigotry has always been a part of American politics. As Kadish notes, the hoax foreshadowed modern political hoaxes that play to bigotry, such as the claim that Obama is a Muslim.

The race-mixing hoax that dogged Lincoln
By Philip Kadish

This year is the 150th anniversary of one of the greatest and least remembered political media hoaxes in American history, one with startling parallels to 21st century politics and the Internet age. It involved Abraham Lincoln, covert governmental programs for interracial sex, pro-slavery politicians and scheming newspaper editors.
Categories: Hate Crimes/Terror, Politics
Posted by Alex on Sun Feb 16, 2014
Comments (0)
A Vodafone commercial featuring talking puppets has been the subject of some strange rumors in Egypt. The buzz is that the commercial is full of coded messages telling Islamist terrorists to bomb churches.

You see, the commercial opens and closes with a shot of a four-branched cactus from which hangs a single Christmas ornament. The four branches, so the rumors suggest, represent the four-fingered salute of the Muslim brotherhood. The cactus itself represents bitterness and resistance. And the ornament is a bomb.


The bulk of the commercial consists of a puppet, Mother Abla Fahita, talking on the phone to an unseen friend, whom she calls Mama Tutu. Obviously this friend represents the Brotherhood.

These rumors were circulating so widely that Vodafone eventually felt compelled to address them. On New Year's Day it issued a statement denying that the commercial carried any subversive messages.

The Economist magazine writes:
By and large, Egyptians have poured scorn and ridicule on all this silly talk. Not, however, the government. The country’s prosecutor general has formally tasked the state security prosecution service, a feared branch that handles terrorist cases, with carrying out an urgent and thorough investigation of Mama Fahita.

Not surprisingly, Egypt’s internet has exploded with farcical “support groups” for the floppy doll, complete with preemptive protests against her likely abuse and torture at the hands of Egypt’s overenthusiastic police. Posing as hyper-nationalists, rival posts have demanded a nationwide round-up of puppets and a manhunt for Mama Tutu.

And here's the commercial that's caused all the fuss:

Categories: Hate Crimes/Terror
Posted by Alex on Wed Jan 08, 2014
Comments (0)
I posted yesterday that Dayna Morales (the "I received a homophobic note and no tip" woman) had been suspended from the restaurant where she was working. Now, the consumerist reports that someone got the idea of checking to see if she actually donated the money she received to the Wounded Warrior Project, as she promised she was going to. The news (kinda predictably) is that no donation was given under her name, or from the zip code where she lives, or from the restaurant. So unless she made the donation under a different name, it looks like she reneged on the one positive thing that people were giving her credit for.
Categories: Hate Crimes/Terror
Posted by Alex on Thu Dec 05, 2013
Comments (1)
Forrest Swan, a 22-year-old waiter and Auburn fan, says he got stiffed by a customer who was an Alabama fan. The customer also wrote a note on the receipt: "don't talk about being proud of Auburn to an Alabama Fan!" Naturally a photo was quickly snapped of the offending receipt and uploaded to twitter. [huffpost]


Mr. Swan hasn't revealed what restaurant this happened at. So details are impossible to verify. But I have a hunch that this case actually is real, unlike the other recent zero-tip-receipt cases that have been in the news.

Speaking of which, last Friday Gallop Asian Bistro announced it was suspending Dayna Morales, pending further investigation. She's the waitress who recently claimed a customer left a homophobic note (and no tip) on a receipt. So this makes it seem more likely that her story about the zero-tip receipt was indeed a hoax.
Categories: Hate Crimes/Terror
Posted by Alex on Wed Dec 04, 2013
Comments (0)
Dayna Morales, a server at the Gallop Asian Bistro in New Jersey, says that a couple she recently waited on not only didn't tip her, but also left a note on the receipt criticizing her lifestyle. So Morales took a photo of the receipt and uploaded it to the facebook page of the "Have A Gay Day" organization.


The photo attracted a lot of publicity and sympathetic supporters soon sent Morales almost $3000, which she says she's donating to charity.

But the twist in the story: a couple has contacted a local news station claiming they were the ones whom Morales served and a) they did tip her (almost 20%), and b) they didn't write any note on the receipt.

They have a customer copy of the receipt that matches the one Morales posted online, and their credit card statement shows they were charged the higher, tip-included amount — which lends credibility to their side of the story.

There seems to be a trend emerging here. It was a little over a month ago that doubts were cast on a very similar case in which a waitress at Red Lobster claimed a customer wrote a racist note on the receipt (and also didn't tip her).
Categories: Hate Crimes/Terror
Posted by Alex on Tue Nov 26, 2013
Comments (4)
Red Lobster Waitress Toni Christina Jenkins shot to internet fame back in September after posting on her facebook page a picture of a receipt she claimed one of her customers left her, with a racist remark ("None N**ger") scrawled on it in place of a tip. The story received even more attention when, a few weeks later, a stranger who was moved by her story gave her a check for $10,759.


But meanwhile, the guy who left the receipt insisted he didn't write that phrase. He admits he wrote the word "None" on the tip line, because he ordered his food to-go. But that other word, he says, wasn't his doing. And now he's hired a forensic handwriting expert to back up his claim when he lawyers up and files a lawsuit against both Jenkins and Red Lobster.

So this creates a he said/she said situation. Either the customer is lying, the waitress is lying, or there was a third person involved. If it ever does make it to trial, it might be a case of dueling handwriting experts. But in the meantime, a lot of self-professed handwriting analysis experts have now popped up online (see Reddit) insisting that they know exactly what happened.
Categories: Hate Crimes/Terror
Posted by Alex on Mon Oct 21, 2013
Comments (1)
A picture of a letter detailing a blatantly racist policy supposedly adopted by a Toronto-area high school, Richview Collegiate Institute, was all over Twitter recently. The letter reads:

Dear teachers and students,
As of late the safety of our students' has been brought into question. Due to a frequent increase in student robberies and fights this letter has been sent out to inform students on safety precautions that are to be taken to protect their well being. Personal belongings are to be kept with you at all times. Do not leave any belongings in the change room as they may be stolen. In the halls avoid eye contact with African-American students. They have a higher chance of becoming aggressive when confronted. Due to their aggressiveness African-American students will be made to pay an extra fee of $1.50 per purchase in the cafeteria.



Of course, the letter is fake. The school doesn't yet know who created it, but students are being interviewed to track down the culprit. Parents have been warned about the hoax. A school trustee commented, "Whereas 30 years ago, someone might have done something stupid like this and made 30 copies and distributed them, now it gets on Twitter and it goes all over." [thestar.com]

The hoax letter echoed the "Seriously McDonalds" hoax (below... so named because that's how the image was usually captioned) that went viral back in June 2011.

Categories: Hate Crimes/Terror, Photos/Videos, Social Networking Sites
Posted by Alex on Tue Feb 12, 2013
Comments (0)
Gawker devoted a series of posts last week to shockjock Erich Muller, aka Mancow. First they praised him for having undergone waterboarding so he could decide for himself whether or not it was torture. But then they obtained a series of emails from Mancow's publicist suggesting the entire thing was a hoax, that Mancow faked being waterboarded.

Mancow insists the waterboarding wasn't faked, despite what his publicist's email may suggest. Apparently there's no video of the event, which is the only thing that would conclusively end the debate.

Frankly, I find it hard to care one way or the other. Whether Mancow had water poured on his face for six seconds or not, the whole thing was a publicity stunt. He's a loudmouth trying to get attention, and contributing nothing intelligent to public debate. It's unfortunate he does get attention.

Thanks to Bob and Joe!

Update: My mistake... there is video of what happened. So I guess the debate is about whether he faked his reaction, not whether the waterboarding itself was fake. (Though some might argue that since his hands weren't bound, it wasn't really waterboarding.)
Categories: Hate Crimes/Terror
Posted by Alex on Mon Jun 01, 2009
Comments (8)
A dispute between two young girls escalated into an online fight between the mothers. The mother of one of the girls posted an ad on Craigslist offering sex with men, and listed the phone number of the other girl's mother as the contact. Twenty-two people called the number. The woman has now been charged with aggravated harrassment. [Newsday]
Categories: Advertising, Hate Crimes/Terror, Law/Police/Crime, Social Networking Sites
Posted by Alex on Mon May 11, 2009
Comments (2)
The mystery of why someone has been leaving white stones with cryptic black markings on them around Orleans, Massachusetts has been solved. The creator of the stones sent an explanatory letter to the local paper:
The writer said the backward “R” and an “R” separated by three slashes on one line and an “X” book ended by two vertical lines underneath means “Remember 9-11.” He (most believe the writer is a male) said he came up with the design about two years ago “When I became disheartened from our straying from our Afghanistan objective of going after and getting Osama bin Laden in order to bring closure to 9-11,” he wrote.

If someone can figure out how you get "Remember 9-11" out of those symbols, let me know. [Wicked Local Orleans via Professor Hex]
Categories: Art, Hate Crimes/Terror, Places
Posted by Alex on Fri Apr 17, 2009
Comments (11)
It must have seemed like a good idea to someone at Greenpeace to leave mysterious green pills labeled "nuclear radiation pills" on the doorsteps of various Toronto homes. The homeowners panicked and called the police. The pills were actually seaweed tablets. Greenpeace had been hoping to raise awareness of a nuclear power plant being built in the area. [citynews.ca]
Categories: Hate Crimes/Terror
Posted by Alex on Thu Apr 09, 2009
Comments (3)
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