A post on Facebook shows what looks like a screenshot of a Washington Post article with the headline: “This dog is the new face of online homophobia” and the subheading “Internet trolls have turned a dachshund into a viral homophobic meme — and her gay owners don’t know what to do.” Under that is the byline of Washington Post technology and online culture columnist Taylor Lorenz.
However, this screenshot has been fabricated. The story never appeared on the Washington Post’s site, despite looking very similar to genuine stories in its internet culture section.
Taylor Lorenz and staff at the Washington Post have confirmed that it was neither a story on their site nor written by Ms Lorenz.
There was a genuine article, but not in the Washington Post
A genuine article with the headline “This dog is the new face of online homophobia” did appear on a website called LGBTQ Nation on 16 May. The subheading differed from the fake Washington Post one, saying: “Whitney Chewston has two gay dads, and now her image is skewering homophobes and transphobes online.”
The real article also uses a different image (although the fake Washington Post screenshot does use a genuine picture of the dog in question).
The LGBTQ Nation article described the owners of a dachshund called Whitney Chewston, and how pictures of Whitney with homophobic sentiments overlaying them, as though the dog was saying them, had gone viral.
Her owners told Know Your Meme: “She's not homophobic. Her dads are gay and it's so interesting, almost ironic that her voice on Instagram, which is us, has always been kind of sassy, and a little gay. So it's just very ironic that she is branded as homophobic. But [we] were actually talking about it, it's more satire than it is anything.”
The fake screenshot has been widely shared online, including by the press secretary of Florida’s governor Ron DeSantis in a tweet which received more than 5,000 likes.
Photo courtesy of Daniel X. O’Neil.