Fake News: Chicago Man Did NOT Lose His Penis To Frostbite After Peeing Outside

Hoax Alert

  • by: Maarten Schenk
Fake News: Chicago Man Did NOT Lose His Penis To Frostbite After Peeing Outside

Did a Chicago man lose his penis after peeing outside in the freezing winter temperatures currently gripping the city? No, that's not true: the story was made up by a "fauxtire" website for entertainment purposes (although we still wouldn't recommend trying to pee outside in this weather).

The story originated from an article published by Huzlers on February 1, 2019 titled "Chicago Man Loses His Penis To Frostbite After Peeing Outside" (archived here) which opened:

CHICAGO - The bitter cold in Chicago has kept hospitals busy, with doctors at one facility during the brunt of an Arctic freeze treating 50 frostbite victims, including one man who lost his penis to frostbite after peeing outside.

"It's a horrific situation," says Dr. Stathis Poulakidas, the head of burn and wound care services at Cook County Health.

Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail so they would not have seen it did not come from a real news website:

Chicago Man Loses His Penis To Frostbite After Peeing Outside

CHICAGO - The bitter cold in Chicago has kept hospitals busy, with doctors at one facility during the brunt of an Arctic freeze treating 50 frostbite victims, including one man who lost his penis to frostbite after peeing outside. "It's a horrific situation," says Dr. Stathis Poulakidas, the head of burn and wound care services ...

The image used to illustrate the story did come from an actual news report about a victim of the cold weather but he suffered a heart attack and froze completely:

Man Found Dead, Frozen In Garage After Shoveling Snow

MILWAUKEE, Wis. (CBS Local) â€" People across the country are dealing with record-breaking cold and the frigid temperatures have already been linked to multiple deaths. In Milwaukee, a man was found dead Tuesday in the garage of a home and apparently collapsed after shoveling snow, authorities said.

The quote from the doctor is also real but it is lifted from another story which seems to have served as the inspiration for the hoax:

Frostbite victims to lose limbs in Chicago

The bitter cold in Chicago has kept hospitals busy, with doctors at one facility during the brunt of an Arctic freeze treating 50 frostbite victims, including some people who may lose an arm or a leg. "It's a horrific situation," says Dr. Stathis Poulakidas, the head of burn and wound care services at Cook County Health.

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.

NewsGuard, a company that uses trained journalist to rank the reliability of websites, describes huzlers.com as:

A self-described satire website that publishes false stories on urban culture and celebrities that have often been mistaken for real news.

According to NewsGuard the site does not maintain basic standards of accuracy and accountability. Read their full assessment here.

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

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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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