The fake awakens: Dead over Star Wars

Another piece of shit fake news site is creating havoc with social media. No, someone did NOT kill themselves because the new Star Wars character is black.

The fake news site, Newswatch33, posted a headline “Man Commits Suicide Over Star Wars Main Character Being Black #BoycottStarWarsVII” and it went  zipping around the web so fast that it overloaded the source website. It obviously didn’t matter that Snopes debunked it yesterday, the day the new movie trailer came out. Even the hashtag #BoycottStarWarsVII” is a hoax.

We live in fraudulent times.

The racist-themed story quickly got people’s attention:

According to authorities, when the EMS and police arrived at the scene, Mr. Garrison was pronounced dead. Officer Jenkins retrieved the suicide note from Mrs. Garrison which mentioned an issue Garrison had with the main character of Star Wars being black.

Reportedly, part of the letter read, “If white people aren’t wanted in Star Wars, then our money must not be either. I’m tired of seeing N**GERS taking over great white films. I can not live in a world being overran by Blacks. Sorry Sarah … Another part of letter read, Boycott Star Wars VII because instead of using the force, they use affirmative action.

This same site previously posted a story that trumpeted that a 17 year old girl died while attempting the Charlie Charlie Challenge to summon a demon.

Typically, these stories can be revealed as fake by just checking a list of questionable sources – like ours – or googling “fake” with the name. DN always looks for other sources for the story. If there ARE none or it’s just a reference back to the dubious source, then, it’s doubtful indeed. Other characteristics of the story you may notice are lack of location and context that a legitimate news story would have, obvious contrived writing, descriptions of the site that include “shocking global news headlines” and an request for writers to “create content”.

The stories cited are often so attention grabbing and timely that people can’t help but click and share before thinking. Many who just see the headline or the first paragraph, even some who comment, assume that it is genuine.

Movie Pilot fell for it. Back in April, the BBC got snookered by a hoaxer who played on the same theme of racism. In November of 2014, Rolling Stone was fooled by a fake trailer for the new Star Wars episode VII.

Vox reports that the hashtag #BoycottStarWarsVII on Twitter was started by two obnoxious trolls. It was manufactured outrage. But as they note, once such things get going on social media, they take on a life of their own outside of the missing context. That’s what we see potentially going on with this Star Wars suicide story.

…the great irony of social media is that pushing against this type of thing only gives it greater amplification and alerts more people to its existence. For every 100 people who see #BoycottStarWarsVII as a garbage fire, there might be one who somehow finds value in it and spreads the message further.

In the end, we are strongly doubtful that NOTHING will stem the wave of excitement over this new film that opens December 18 which is set to eclipse the highest gross earnings for opening weekend currently held by Jurassic World at $208 million. And, quite possibly the record for a single day held by Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows at $91 million.

Fake poster for a real movie with a fake plot from a fictional TV show.

Fake poster for a real movie with a fake plot from a fictional TV show.

  13 comments for “The fake awakens: Dead over Star Wars

  1. Bob
    October 20, 2015 at 3:18 PM

    Good. One fewer fake racists to worry about…. ‘aaaaang on!

  2. busterggi (Bob Jase)
    October 20, 2015 at 6:35 PM

    Lando was white?

  3. October 20, 2015 at 6:52 PM

    These fake news websites are an increasing blight on both the news and comedy fields. Their headlines were threatening to take over Snopes (though it seems the Snopes folks have now figured out how to present things so we’re not wasting most of our time reading faked out urban legends).

    I just wish there was some way to combat them. Ignoring them seems about as productive as trying to ignore Kardashian news — perhaps because no one’s even noticing our ignoring and there aren’t enough of us ignoring the K’s to put a dent in their click bait appeal.

    Understanding the fake newsies as trolls might be a start, but the strategy for overcoming forum trolls may not be helpful in the broader realm of social media.

    On a side note, I wonder how my DN avatar got transformed into a different image. Anyone know how I can get my pic back?

  4. October 20, 2015 at 6:52 PM

    These fake news sites make me so mad! So many people believe what’s written on them, and that can cause unnecessary conflict and hostility. I will NEVER understand why anyone would find this kind of thing funny.

  5. Bonnie
    October 20, 2015 at 8:43 PM

    That’s what I was wondering! And wasn’t he beautiful?

  6. Jeff
    October 20, 2015 at 9:59 PM

    A vast wasteland.

  7. Kurt
    October 21, 2015 at 12:17 PM

    I DID consider some self-harm after seeing Jar Jar in the theaters on opening day.

  8. Lagaya1
    October 21, 2015 at 1:29 PM

    And Chewbacca was definitely a wookie of color!

  9. Lagaya1
    October 21, 2015 at 3:57 PM

    This one has a strange uh…appendage.

  10. Lagaya1
    October 21, 2015 at 4:01 PM

    Re: avatars. You can always make your own, then you can choose what you like. I like “Hong Gil Dong” for mine.

  11. October 21, 2015 at 5:34 PM

    Yeah, but what happened to my old one?

  12. October 21, 2015 at 5:42 PM

    ah…let’s try this one.

  13. Massachusetts
    October 26, 2015 at 10:17 AM

    And let’s not forget James Earl Jones, whose voice made Darth Vader.

    So, that fake hashtag is supposed to whip people up into a state of outrage to boycott the film, because it’s so terrible that sometimes black peoples get jobs, or it’s supposed to outrage people that some people are allegedly outraged that black people sometimes get jobs? Or both?

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