Twitter duped by trending ‘anti-masturbation cross’

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Hey, parents! Worried that your child is spending too little time basking in the divine glow of Christ and too much time basking in the divine glow of frisky me-time? Check out this “anti-masturbation cross,” a papoose-like contraption for children ages 5 and up that trended on Twitter last night along with the hashtag #StopSatan2014.

But is the “anti-masturbation cross,” with its complicated-sounding “papoose cross and arm immobilizer” combo intended to “safely secure a self-raping child,” actually real? Nah.

The photo is from the Facebook page Stop Masturbation Now, a tongue-in-cheek, parody anti-masturbation group that was apparently formed back in 2013 by professional prankster “Lonnie Childs,” who previously duped the media with a press release for the fake anti-masturbation mascot Fappy the Dolphin. Back then, Childs was quoted as telling CNN: “What our organization does is designed to help make children and parents aware of the dangers of masturbation in and outside of the home. God willing, one day masturbation will be illegal.”

Although anyone who took the time to Google Stop Masturbation Now would come up with Childs’ hoaxster history, apparently many took the “anti-masturbation cross” seriously:

Eventually, the hashtag started taking on a life of its own, with people tweeting other examples of why Satan needed to be stopped, all of which were far more ominous than the evils of masturbation:

So let #StopSatan2014 serve as yet another reminder of one of the guiding principles of the Internet: If a meme seems too bizarre to be true, it probably is. 

Photo via Stop Masturbation Now

EJ Dickson

EJ Dickson

EJ Dickson is a writer and editor who primarily covers sex, dating, and relationships, with a special focus on the intersection of intimacy and technology. She served as the Daily Dot’s IRL editor from January 2014 to July 2015. Her work has since appeared in the New York Times, Rolling Stone, Mic, Bustle, Romper, and Men’s Health.