Ready? Here’s what was fake on the Internet this week:
1. Muslim students did not demand that “offensive” crosses come down at a Catholic school. For future reference, any time a blog post panics about the encroachment of “Sharia law” in America, it’s almost definitely (a) fake, (b) exaggerated or (c) straight-up racist. This gem from Top Right News — shared more than 300,000 times, and widely repeated in right-wing media — is an example of all three.
Per the report, published last Saturday, a group of Muslim students at Catholic University are “suing” the school over “offensive” Catholic imagery. But as The Post reported in some depth — when this actually happened, a full four years ago — no Muslims were ever actually involved. In reality, the complaint was made in response to a Post article profiling Muslim students at CU. And it was made by a law professor at George Washington University, who has a long, much-criticized history of filing controversial lawsuits to get attention. Also, the students pictured in Top Right’s story don’t even go to CU: They’re members of the Muslim Student Association at Benedictine University, several states/hours away from CU.
2. No one ran up a $15,000 food stamp balance. This photo of a Michigan receipt with a $15,000 EBT balance was uploaded to Facebook by a Louisiana man named Travaris Steele. At first glance, it kind of checks out: the Detroit store where it’s from does accept EBT, and all of the items on it — even the Red Bull! — are eligible. It’s even possible, hypothetically, for a household to bank a $15,000 balance in Michigan, where benefits roll over month-to-month and only expire after a year. But there’d have to be nine people in that house to qualify for such a large benefit, and they’d have to make virtually no money (and use literally no benefits) during that period.
If that’s not enough to raise your suspicions, check out the offending line: “Foodstamplable EBT balance: $15,464.00.” Every other place the receipt prints the phrase “Food Stamp,” it does it as two words, in title case. Foodstampable is a weird neologism, to begin with — and clearly misspelled, in this case. Also, what are the chances of the balance being an even number of dollars? Far more likely for the balance to have some extra change attached, especially since the purchase was for an uneven $7.66.
3. Beyoncé did not bathe in $20,000 champagne. Fans were outraged — OUTRAGED, I tell you — over a widely circulated, Photoshopped tweet, which claimed that the bottle of champagne Bey poured out in her latest video cost $20,000. As in, your “college tuition fees.” But actually, Gawker debunks, Armand de Brignac retails at roughly $300 a bottle. And let’s be real, Bey didn’t pay for it: Jay Z owns that particular wine label.
4. A “Mad Max” sequel has not been confirmed. Many, many entertainment outlets jumped on this buzzy tweet from Mad Max director George Miller, which promised “more Max to come.” The only problem? The account was fake: A joke created by Lenny Delowitz, of the entertainment satire site Studio Exec. It’s not clear why Twitter verified the fake account, or why so many outlets ran with the big news without confirming it. “What’s the moral of this sordid tale?” Delowitz asked. “… some journalists will believe anything for a story.” Ack.
5. There is no cocaine in Skittles, and no urine in Arizona tea. Readers recently e-mailed with concerns over both these stories, which — not to our surprise, but certainly to our relief — are 100-percent untrue. They both come from Huzlers, a notorious plague of a site that exists solely to make ad dollars off of fake news.
Did we miss any other notable fake stuff this week? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org — or stay tuned until next week, because surely some more shenanigans will go down in the meantime.