Did Tennessee TV news station WSMV 4 Nashville tweet that a father vowed an "end to tolerance" of "trans evil" in response to the March 27, 2023, Covenant School mass shooting that killed six people? No, that's not true: The broadcast station publicly stated that the tweet was fabricated. Lead Stories found no evidence to corroborate that the claim was legitimate.
The claim originated in a now-deleted post that was shared on Twitter on March 29, 2023, (archived here). It included a screenshot of a counterfeit tweet said to have been originally posted by WSMV 4 Nashville, an NBC-affiliated TV news channel. The fake post read:
Father of murderer girl, 9, at Covenant school shooting, calls for 'an end to tolerance' in family statement to press, vowing 'to fight with every fiber of my being for the end of the trans evil. The evil that took my daughter. There must be a solution to this evil in America.'
Below is a screengrab that shows an archived version of the now-deleted tweet:
(Source: Wayback screenshot taken Wed March 29 20:05:24 UTC 2023)
The above screenshot shows a doctored image. In a tweet on March 29, 2023, the verified, genuine WSMV 4 Nashville Twitter account confirmed that the image is a fake tweet, writing that "This Tweet is fake. WSMV4 did not post this."
The fake image was posted by the Aureus Press Twitter account (@Trad_West_Art). It used a screenshot rather than a retweet of the original tweet that users could engage with. To further confirm that the post in question was fake, Lead Stories conducted an advanced search through the WSMV 4 Nashville Twitter profile and examined the account's history for all posts between March 27, 2023, the day that the shooting occurred, and March 29, 2023, when the tweet was said to have been posted. We did not find the post in question. We also checked the Wayback Machine, a website that archives internet posts, and did not find the post on Twitter.
Additionally, no news reports containing the supposed quote were posted on the WSMV4 website for the dates above.
Lastly, a Google search of the verbatim quote featured in the digitally altered screenshot returned no results from legitimate news sources. As of this writing, no official reports or statements corroborate the alleged quote.
The post in question was shared on Twitter by The Aureus Press, a website with an "about" section that says:
We are interested in: esotericism, history, Hellenism, Platonism, art, tradition, Hermeticism, astrology, astronomy, science-fiction, fantasy, semiotics and symbology, music, psychedelics, health, architecture, space, aristocracy, and nature. Anything good really.
Contributors listed on the website include pen names like AaronArt, Aglaophamos and Temple of the Hermetic One. Lead Stories contacted The Aureus Press website for clarification on where the doctored post may have originated. We will update this article accordingly.