Fact Check: LeBron James Did NOT Blame 'Space Jam 2' Box Office Numbers On Systemic Racism

Fact Check

  • by: Sarah Thompson
Fact Check: LeBron James Did NOT Blame 'Space Jam 2' Box Office Numbers On Systemic Racism Satire Tweet

Did LeBron James blame disappointing "Space Jam 2" numbers on the "long history of systemic racism at the box office"? No, that's not true: There is no evidence LeBron James said that or anything similar to it. This "Breaking" news story is a layered screenshot of a reply to a tweet from a now-suspended Twitter account, @BBCNewsButGayer. Tweets from this account were constructed as satirical one-liners leading with the word "BREAKING."

The original tweet about "Space Jam 2" from the @BBCNewsButGayer account was posted on July 29, 2021. Amiri King replied to that tweet on August 6, 2021, and then apparently posted a screenshot of the exchange to his private Instagram account. Yet another screenshot, this time of the @thekinghasspoken Instagram post was posted on Facebook. The post was published on August 7, 2021, captioned only with a clown face emoji. The text within the layered screenshots reads:

thekinghasspoken

BREAKING: LeBron James blames disappointing SPACE JAM 2 numbers on the "long history of systemic racism at the box office."

Amiri King @AmiriKing . 1s
Replying to @BBCNewsButGayer
Original Space Jam earned $90m at the box office and $230m worldwide.

Merchandising brought in more than $1b.

Space Jam remains the highest-grossing basketball movie of all time.

Space Jam didn't flop because of SYsTeMic Racism.

It flopped because you aren't Michael Jordan.

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

Facebook screenshot

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Wed Aug 11 14:06:12 2021 UTC)

On August 6, 2021, Amiri King replied to a July 29 2021, tweet from a satirical account that had a profile picture and username "BBC News." The Twitter handle of this account was @BBCNewsButGayer. This account regularly tweeted satirically in the format of one-liners phrased as breaking news headlines. Examples of earlier tweets can be seen in captures of the @BBCNewsButGayer account feed archived in July and August before the account was suspended.

Below is an image of how the Google web-cached copy of the July 29, 2021, tweet appeared on August 11, 2021. This shows how the BBC logo and username BBC News figured prominently on the @BBCNewsButGayer account and may have tricked some to think this was true breaking news reported by the BBC.

SpacejamCache.JPG

(Image source: screenshot of Google webcache taken on Wed Aug 11 17:26:11 2021 UTC)

The second level of screenshotting occurred after Amri King posted a screenshot of his reply to @BBCNewsButGayer to this private Instagram account @thekinghasspoken. This second screenshot does not show the full context of the original tweet exchange but continues to confuse, even without the spoofed BBC logo visible.

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  Sarah Thompson

Sarah Thompson lives with her family and pets on a small farm in Southeastern Indiana. She founded a Facebook page and a blog called “Exploiting the Niche” in 2017 to help others learn about manipulative tactics and avoid scams on social media. Since then she has collaborated with journalists in the USA, Canada and Australia and since December 2019 she works as a Social Media Authenticity Analyst at Lead Stories.


 

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