Christina Pushaw, press secretary for governor Ron DeSantis, has been mocked online after falling for a fake “homophobic dog” story. (Twitter/@ChristinaPushaw/Instagram/@whitney_chewston)
Florida governor Ron DeSantis’ press secretary has been ridiculed on social media after she tweeted a fake news story about a ‘homophobic’ dog.
On Monday (16 May), Christina Pushaw tweeted a screenshot of a fake story allegedly written by Washington Post writer Taylor Lorenz about a white dachshund with the headline: “This dog is the new face of homophobia”.
The fake news story also included a small blurb that “internet trolls” had turned the adorable dog into a “viral homophobic meme”, and the dog’s “gay owners don’t know what to do” about it.
“More cutting edge journalism from the 49 year old Washington Post activist infamous for showing up masked on random people’s doorsteps & sliding into the DMs of tiktok teenagers,” Pushaw tweeted alongside the screenshot.
More cutting edge journalism from the 49 year old Washington Post activist infamous for showing up masked on random people’s doorsteps & sliding into the DMs of tiktok teenagers. pic.twitter.com/Ua0Al8J1jq
— Christina Pushaw 🐊 🇺🇸 (@ChristinaPushaw) May 16, 2022
Pushaw was presumably referencing Lorenz’s exposé about the right-wing, anti-LGBTQ+ Libs of TikTok account. The account has been credited with helping to set the agenda of conservative discourse. In April, a teacher said he was sent death threats and lost his job after he was targeted by the anti-LGBTQ+ account.
However, it didn’t take long before people pointed out that the story wasn’t real, and many people mocked Pushaw for falling for the fake news story.
— Aaron Blake (@AaronBlake) May 17, 2022
This is a fake story you fool
— Keith Edwards (@keithedwards) May 16, 2022
1. Love that your bio has “debunking false narratives” and you fell for a false narrative.
2. If TL is 49, then dang, I want to know exactly what skincare products she’s using.
— Susan Szews (@betawriter) May 17, 2022
There is something increadably self owning about trying to discredit journalists as “fake” by creating “fake” stories about them and trying to make people believe them to be true.
— George Dolan (@GeorgeDolan17) May 16, 2022
Is the homophobic dog the new milkshake duck? Story at 10!
(FYI: This isn’t a real Washington Post story. It cracks me up though.) https://t.co/ecAHlwqA1m
— Anna Gallegos-Cannon (@anna_gallegos) May 18, 2022
— alex (@alex_abads) May 17, 2022
posting fake screenshots to show much you hate fake news https://t.co/2eQ7yEdgA3
— CJ Ciaramella (@cjciaramella) May 17, 2022
Even the creator of the fake story image tweeted that it had “come to my attention that Ron DeSantis’ press secretary has stolen an edit out of an inability to differentiate between satire and reality”.
It has come to my attention that Ron DeSantis’ press secretary has stolen my edit out of an inability to differentiate between satire and reality, please share your collection of dog memes under her post:https://t.co/EsCzNNVs5t
— chuck (@mailprivilege) May 17, 2022
According to Know Your Meme, the dog from the ‘homophobic dog’ fake article is a white dachshund named Whitney Chewston.
The website said the Whitney is seen “often sitting next to a glass of red wine with a Whisper caption that reads, ‘not too fond of gay people’, suggesting the dog is homophobic”.
The now-iconic image was posted on Whitney’s Instagram account in June 2019 and first appeared as a meme in March 2021.
Know Your Meme said there have been additional photoshopped images of Whitney with “similarly ironic homophobic captions” which appeared in 2022.
There have also been images that “suggested the dog learned from its homophobic ways and is now tolerant of the LGBTQ+ community”.
Whitney’s owners Ben Campbell and Logan Hickman sat down for a chat with Know Your Meme in March about the memes surrounding the adorable dog.
Hickman said that Whitney is “not homophobic in real life” as “her dads are gay” and said it was “almost ironic” that she’s been branded as “homophobic”.
“It’s interesting, almost ironic, her voice on Instagram has always been kind of sassy and a little gay, so it’s very ironic that she’s branded as homophobic,” Hickman said.
Hickman continued: “But Ben and I were actually talking about it, it’s more satire than it is anything.
“Through satire and this meme, we’re kind of exposing when people who just aren’t up with the times and people who aren’t very forward toward gay people.”
Lorenz seemingly had a good sense of humour about the fake news story and even joked that she would “write this article” if people were able to “get me to 500k followers”. After Pushaw’s post, Lorenz tweeted: “Oh my god she thinks it’s real I’m laughing so hard”.