A tweet posted on May 15 with a purported screenshot of a Washington Post headline went viral with more than 450,000 likes and 40,000 retweets as of May 17.
The screenshot appeared to show an article in Washington Post’s “Internet Culture” section headlined “This dog is the new face of online homophobia,” attributed to well-known technology journalist Taylor Lorenz.
As the tweet spread, it gained the attention of people critical of the supposed article, including that of Christina Pushaw, the press secretary for Florida governor Ron DeSantis. Pushaw criticized the apparent story by sarcastically calling it an example of “more cutting edge journalism” from Lorenz.
Did the Washington Post’s Taylor Lorenz write an article titled “This dog is the new face of online homophobia?”
No, the Washington Post’s Taylor Lorenz did not write an article titled “This dog is the new face of online homophobia.” The fake article screenshot was posted as satire.
WHAT WE FOUND
A Twitter user who goes by the handle @mailprivilege first posted the screenshot on May 15. They referred to their screenshot in a later tweet as “my edit” and “satire.” In a message to VERIFY over Twitter, @mailprivilege confirmed the screenshot was edited and they were the original creator of the edit.
A Washington Post spokesperson told VERIFY in an email that the news outlet never published the alleged article. Taylor Lorenz, the journalist listed as the author of the fabricated article, tweeted that the screenshot is fake.
The dog used for the fake story’s photo is Whitney Chewston, a dachshund with over 100,000 followers on Instagram. In recent months, the dog has been the subject of memes satirizing common homophobic remarks. The dog’s owners are a gay couple, like the screenshot claims, according to LGBTQNation — but the Washington Post didn’t write an article about them.
A search for “This dog is the face of online homophobia” on the Washington Post’s website yields no results. A May 17 search of “Taylor Lorenz” on the Washington Post’s website returns 19 results, none of which are for an article with that headline.
The Washington Post did publish a Taylor Lorenz article on May 13 — the date listed in the article in the edited screenshot — but for an entirely different story. It’s an Internet Culture article titled: “Followers are a valuable currency. Who should own them?”
Although Lorenz later joked she would actually write the article if she got to 500,000 followers on Twitter, someone else already beat her to the punch. On May 16, LGBTQNation’s Alex Bollinger wrote an article with the same headline as the one in the viral screenshot and referenced the tweet in the story.
"Through satire and this meme, we’re kind of exposing when people who just aren’t up with the times and people who aren’t very forward toward gay people,” the couple who owns the dog told LGBTQNation.
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