Earlier in the week, in a response to something that I’d written about Michigan’s “License to Discriminate” legislation having passed the House, a reader by the name of EOS posted a link to a ridiculous video intended to demonstrate, if I understood it correctly, that gay people can, when pushed, be just as intolerant as Christians. In the video, a man calling himself Theodore Shoebat calls various bakeries asking that they make him a cake covered in homophobic slogans. And, when they invariably refuse, he looks knowingly into the camera, like he’s just proven something of great significance. A Christian baker refusing to sell a wedding cake to a gay couple, it would seem, at least to Shoebat, is exactly the same as a regular, non-homophobic baker refusing to spell out “fag” in icing on top of a lemon chiffon cake. The idea was so ridiculous that I decided to search the web for other articles written by Mr. Shoebat. And that’s when I found this, which was posted just a few days ago.
“A horrific event has taken place in Jamaica, in which a group of homosexuals took a man who was about to go jogging, stripped him naked, tied him up, and gang raped him until blood poured out of his anus,” said Shoebat. “We are going to be seeing this type of violence from homosexuals in the future. Expect homosexual rape gangs to be more numerous.”
Such vivid imagery. Blood running from the anus… If it were true, it would be absolutely horrible… Of course, it isn’t, though. And Shoebat could have discovered as much if he’d done even the most rudimentary fact checking. But his objective, I think it’s pretty clear, never was to share the truth. It was to stoke the fires of homophobia and further his fundamentalist, anti-gay agenda. And it worked. According to Facebook, 20 people shared this post of his. And it got a really positive response from his followers. “Kill them all, God will recognize his own,” said one. “Homosexuals are violent,” said another. “Their not all puffy fagits, we need to realize this, militancy is the answer. I don’t want to kill them, I would rather convert them and save them from hell, but if they want a war we will give them it.”
If any of these folks had checked, they would have found that no evidence exists to show that there was an attack of this nature on the day in question. Furthermore, they would have found that it’s not unusual for fake stories such as this to run in the Jamaica Observer, where this piece of propaganda originated. The paper’s owner, Gordon “Butch” Stewart, the conservative owner of Sandals resorts, apparently has a reputation for this kind of thing. According to a November, 2014 feature in Vice, “LGBT rights have featured heavily in (the pages of the Jamaica Observer) over the past six months and, although the paper claims to support freedom of expression and balanced journalism, critics note that some of the content has been overtly anti-gay.” One article, appearing beneath the headline “Homo Thugs!,” warned of “gun-toting gays” taking over Jamaican towns. And , not so coincidentally, these articles about armed gays, and the rape of straight men, came out at a time when Jamaicans were actively debating so-called “anti-buggery” laws directed against homosexuals… Oh, and it’s probably also worth noting that, between 1981 and 2004, Sandals resorts barred gay couples.
As for the image that Shoebat chooses to use in the above post, it isn’t of a gay Jamaican gang. A reverse image search revealed it to be a photo taken in Kenya. And the men pictured weren’t masked because they were in the process of committing a crime. They were masked because they were protesting an anti-homosexuality bill which had been passed by Uganda’s parliament and they were, quite justifiably, fearful of violent retribution… And, speaking of anti-gay violence, it doesn’t just happen in Africa. Jamaica has a long history of it as well.
Here, if you’d like to hear more about this event, which didn’t happen, and what it means for the future of mankind, is Theodore Shoebat.
“Homosexual men, who will lift a lot of weights, they’re very robust, they’re very strong, and they will go after people that they don’t like, and they will sodomize them… It’s already happening!” -Theodore Shoebat