Fake fairy bread petition dupes multiple media outlets

Multiple Australian media outlets have run stories declaring there is a push to rename Fairy Bread, because the name of the children’s party staple is offensive. The only problem – it’s a complete hoax.

The petition at Change.org was launched a few weeks ago by a person named Alexis Chaise, who declared that the party food, consisting of white bread, margarine, and sprinkles, was “enjoyed by countless Australians, but to this day maintains its distasteful name.” Alexis declared her outrage at the phrase “fairy” being used in 2021.

There are many clues to this being fake, and it didn’t take 2GB host Ben Fordham very long to smell a rat, and call out well known prankster team The Chaser.

For one you can purchase an Alexis Chaise Lounge for $799 at Lounge Lovers, also the social media account had only been around a few months.

Fordham highlighted that the first four followers Alexis Chaise’s account gained were three members of the prankster group; Julian Morrow, Craig Reucassel, Dominic Knight and the official account of The Chaser.

Even though Fordham called the bluff on his radio program a few weeks ago, it didn’t stop multiple news outlets posting the story, when a simple Google search would have revealed it was false.

News.com put a story, which has since been deleted.  It was also covered by Lad Bible, The Daily Telegraph, The Herald Sun, The Brag, and The Daily Mail.

The proliferation of media stories about the attack on fairy bread could be attributed to the every-increasing squeeze on journalists, who are often required to write many stories every day as dwindling income to media outlets leads to cut after cut on editorial staff.

Yet, such explanations hold little merit. Firstly you’d have to believe people were wanting to identify as ‘fairies’, and were somehow offended by the confectionery laden bread, and secondly it only takes one search of Google to see the already uncovered hoax.

More plausibly,  the situation could be attributed to a movement, eager ‘to expose wokeness’, with writers desperate to get much needed web hits from stories that generate outrage, and disdain for the usual targets; people of diverse sexuality and gender, people of colour, First Nations people, academics, and environmentalists.

Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who has been pushing for a Royal Commission into the influence of the Murdoch media empire, commented on the drama saying NewsCorp outlets had been so easily duped into to believing there was a national push against fairy bread because they were so “eager to get stuck into ‘cancel culture’ outrage.

While news outlets jumped on the fairy bread train without checking what the final destination was, it’s not the only example this week of misinformation and false reporting to target queer people and their ilk. As The Guardian highlighted on Friday, a stories about public health campaign advocating for the removal of the words “mum” and “dad” was also a complete media beat-up.

When the Daily Mail reported on the public campaign #SpeakingUpSpeaksVolumes, a program that aims to encourage people to being supportive of young vulnerable LGBTIQ+ people, they said the project advocated for the removal of phrases such as “Mum ‘ and “Dad” from society.

The program however had only suggested people think about the words they might use around queer youth, and the organisers say subsequent reporting “misleadingly characterised the campaign as a debate about pronouns.” Schools have used phrases like parent and guardian for years, and the only suggestion about removing words like “Mum” and “Dad” were from the newspaper, but once it was in one paper, it was quickly copied by many others.

First the Daily Mail did it, then it was repeated by Seven, and then picked up by hard-right publications like Rebel News. 

The fairy bread hoax comes off the back of Melbourne man Brian Mc launching a petition to change the name of ice-cream Golden Gaytime. While many people have declared that this petition is also a hoax, and the man behind it is an agent provocateur of right-wing media – OUTinPerth’s investigations have only shown that this proposal, which has been widely laughed off, is actually genuine.

OUTinPerth and other LGBTIQA+ focused media outlets highlighted this petition weeks before it was featured in the mainstream media. While in our initial reports we questioned if the petitioner who lacks a full last name was genuine, in-depth investigations confirmed he was 100% ridgy-didge. We spoke to him, we know his full name and identity.

Some readers have proffered advice suggesting that if OUTinPerth, QNews or  Pink Advocate had not given space to Brian Mc’s petition, it would never have been covered by mainstream media outlets. This view however is naïve, for one Brian Mc was actively promoting the petition to a wide range of media outlets, and as previously mentioned there is clearly a trend towards finding examples of ‘crazy wokeness’ fueled by programs like Outsiders on Sky News which features segments named ‘Wakademia’ and ‘Lefty Lunacy’.

These scenarios highlight several important things though. Firstly by covering the original Golden Gaytime petition we were able to clearly say that this was not something the LGBTIQ+ communities as a whole were pushing for. As the story exploded across the nation and conservative radio stations looked to fill their airwaves with outrage, we were able to go on as guests and deny the suggestion that across the country queer people en masse were protesting an ice cream.

It also shows the important need for leaders, peak bodies, and formal organsisations to represent our communities. We need them for serious advocacy, important political lobbying, but we also need them when we have to combat otiose and indolent news stories, and preposterous and nonsensical petitioners.

On the surface stories about fairy bread, ice creams and the use of words may seem trivial. After we chatted to 6PR about the Golden Gaytime petition one radio caller in Perth suggested, “next they’ll be coming for The Flintstones Theme, and stopping them from having an gay old time.”, followed by someone worried that the name Gaye would be targeted – there’s no end to how ridiculous the claims can be.

Underneath it all though, the movement continues, the movement to marginalise certain people, the push to silence and ridicule people who fight for equality, the movement to put forward a story that bears no relation to the truth.

Graeme Watson – Editor

An early version of this article included reference to a tweet purportedly from Lyle Shelton, the newly nominated leader of the Christian Democrats. The tweet we referenced was from a parody account, which tricked us and several other media outlets. We offer an unreserved apology to Mr Shelton, and the irony of failing to triple check a tweet in an article about checking your sources is not lost on us. 

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