Fake News: Florida Man Did NOT Burn Down Home After Lighting Nike Shoes On Fire In Protest Of Nike's Colin Kaepernick Ad

Fact Check

  • by: Maarten Schenk

STORY UPDATED: check for updates below.

Fake News: Florida Man Did NOT Burn Down Home After Lighting Nike Shoes On Fire In Protest Of Nike's Colin Kaepernick Ad

Did Jason Helms, 26, burn down his home after lighting a pair of Nike shoes on fire to protest the Kaepernick ad campaign by that company? No, that's not true: the story was made up by a "fauxtire" site that creates tales about bizarre crimes and weird events for entertainment purposes. It did not happen for real.

The story originated from an article published by Huzlers on September 5, 2018 titled "Florida Man Accidentally Burns Home Down After Lighting Nike Shoes On Fire In Protest Of Nike's Colin Kaepernick Ad" (archived here) which opened:

FLORIDA - A Florida man has been arrested after he reportedly accidentally burned his home down by attempting to burn a pair of Nike sneakers in protest of their latest Colom Kaepernick Ad.

According to authorities, Jason Helms, 26, placed a pair of Nike sneakers in his garage and soaked them in Kerosene before lighting them on fire. The fire ended up spreading to the the garage walls and ceiling before spreading to his actual home. All in protest against Nike, who recently made an Ad featuring controversial NFL star Colin Kaepernick and reading: "Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything... Just do it". "Don't burn your Nike gear" says police officer Don Greestien, "just send them over to me".

Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail and might have confused it for a real news article:

Florida Man Accidentally Burns Home Down After Lighting Nike Shoes On Fire In Protest Of Nike's Colin Kaepernick Ad

FLORIDA - A Florida man has been arrested after he reportedly accidentally burned his home down by attempting to burn a pair of Nike sneakers in protest of their latest Colom Kaepernick Ad. According to authorities, Jason Helms, 26, placed a pair of Nike...

But the picture of the house fire has been going around since at least 2010 on stock photo and gallery websites:

86 results - TinEye

Compare your search image to your result image. Quickly click the "Switch" button to switch back and forth between the two images and see the differences.

And the "racist" tattoo image has been going around since at least 2013:

70 results - TinEye

Compare your search image to your result image. Quickly click the "Switch" button to switch back and forth between the two images and see the differences.

Huzlers styles itself as a "fauxtire" website and carries a disclaimer at the bottom of each page:

Huzlers.com is the most infamous fauxtire & satire entertainment website in the world. If it's trending on social media you'll find it here!

According to Splinter News the site is run by Pablo Reyes and David Martinez and according to Buzzfeed Reyes is involved with several other fake news websites. They tend to shy away from political stories, opting instead to write for a more "urban" audience, with stories about rappers, criminals and celebrities.

We wrote about huzlers.com before, here are our most recent articles that mention the site:

Updates:

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  Maarten Schenk

Lead Stories co-founder Maarten Schenk is our resident expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.  He can often be found at conferences and events about fake news, disinformation and fact checking when he is not in his office in Belgium monitoring and tracking the latest fake article to go viral.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk

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