Fake News: Parents NOT Angry; Son NOT Chosen to Play IMAM in School Nativity Play

Fact Check

  • by: Maarten Schenk
Fake News: Parents NOT Angry; Son NOT Chosen to Play IMAM in School Nativity Play

Did a school in Westcliff-on-Thames give a pupil the role of imam in a Christmas nativity play? No, that's not true: the story and accompanying note were made up by a British satire website, it is completely fake.

The story originated from an article published by "U OK Hun?" on November 24, 2018 titled " Parents angry after their son is chosen to play an IMAM in school Nativity" (archived here) which opened:

The parents of seven-year-old Christian Slater have been describing their anger after he was allegedly told by his school teacher that he would be playing an IMAM in this year's nativity play.

According to the headteacher of Roger Lloyd-Pack Memorial Primary Academy in Westcliff-on-Thames, this year's 'multicultural and accessible' festive production will be 'a celebration of tolerance and diversity in Britain.'

Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail:

Parents angry after their son is chosen to play an IMAM in school Nativity

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Of course there is no "Roger Lloyd-Pack Memorial Primary Academy": the fictional school was named ater the actor Roger Lloyd-Pack, famous for his role in hit British comedie series "Only Fools and Horses". It is supposedly located in "Westcliff-on-Thames" but that is a fictional town. It does sound very close to "Westcliff-on-Sea" which is part of Southend-on-Sea in the UK (this is relevant, see below). The name of the boy, Christian Slater, is of course also the name of an actor. The last name of the teacher, "Al-Zhafavah", has been used in many stories from the satirical Southend News Network.

The story was accompanied by a picture of a note that read:

Dear Parent,

We are delighted to confirm that Christian has been chosen to play the role of The Imam in this year's Nativity Play on Friday December 14th. Please make sure that their costume is in school by 3pm on Friday December 7th.

Thanks, Mis Al-Zhafavah


The fake note used in the story

The website "U OK Hun?" has an about page that reads:

Welcome to U OK Hun!

I started this blog and Facebook page because my social awkwardness makes it very difficult for me to be both funny and interesting in real life.

However, I am reasonably good at getting all Billy Big Bollocks on the Internet.

Don't forget to LIKE the U OK Hun Facebook page for the latest updates.

Totes grates babes,

Simon Harris, Editor-In-Chief and CEO of Hun Industries Inc.

[email protected]

The Southend News Network is a satirical site pretending to be a news organisation by the English coast in Southend. They have a disclaimer on their about page that reads (in part):

Southend News Network was originally started in October 2015 with no real aims or objectives in mind other than to add a satirical/spoof-like touch to issues that people are passionate about in Southend On Sea. Above all else, SNN is all about having the occasional 'dig' at the powers that be, as well a slightly bigger and more frequent 'dig' at certain elements of local media!

Several of their stories have been mistaken for real news in the past and the site was recognized by the local authorities as an "official news outlet".

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

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  Maarten Schenk

Maarten Schenk is the co-founder and COO/CTO of Lead Stories and an 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.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk

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