Fake news website the Salt Lake City Guardian published an article titled: "LEGISLATION INTRODUCED TO STRIP GOVERNMENT BENEFITS FROM PROTESTERS".
UPDATE: The story is part of a fake news campaign to promote the movie "A Cure for Wellness".
The article opens:
In response to nationwide unrest both on the street and in town hall meetings, freshman Senator Bradley Kennedy (R-UT) has introduced legislation that would strip anyone apprehended while protesting the government of their rights to welfare, public housing, food stamps and disability.
In a press release put out by the Senators office, Kennedy states:
"It has become clear that there is an entire class of US citizens who prefer to protest against the government instead of contributing to society in a positive manner. These citizens, the "Protest Class", do not deserve many of the freedoms and benefits afforded to those of us who love our country, work hard and pay the bills. This bill simply states that if you are apprehended during a public protest of the government then you no longer have these rights."
None of it is true, the story is made up and definitely a hoax. Here's how you can tell:
- The Salt Lake City guardian is part of a network of fake news websites designed to look like regional newspapers. Note how the articles are all undated and the front page contains only generic news, identical to the news on other sites in the network like the Houston Leader and the Sacramento Dispatch (both of these sites also publish fake news).
- Bradley Kennedy (the senator in the article) does not exist. He has a fake campaign website and a twitter account @SenBradKennedy (with just 11 tweets at the time of writing) but the current actual senators from Utah are Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee.
- The photo used on Kennedy's twitter account is just a stock photo of a middle aged businessman which can be found here on Shutterstock.
Despite all these obvious warning signs no other fact checking or hoax slaying websites have debunked the story yet and people keep on sharing this 'news' as real as the Trendolizer graph at the end of this article shows. If you see anyone spreading this fake rumor, send them here and help stop it from spreading.