Viral tale of man ‘refusing’ to use gay pride crosswalk is fake

A picture of a man “refusing” to step on a gay pride rainbow crosswalk has gone viral on Twitter.

The image posted by @SteveFranssen yesterday morning is captioned, “This man in the state of Georgia is refusing to walk on the LGBTQ crosswalks. A hero! The eyes of the world are watching!”

As of this afternoon, the tweet had 3,500 comments and 2,000 likes; or, as the Twitter kids like to say, was getting harshly ratioed.

Plenty of people agreed with the sentiment, which seems to be something along the lines of “if you step on the rainbow, you might get some gay on you, ewww, gay.”

Their comments—such as one who called the gay pride crosswalks “enforced virtue signalling” and the one that called LGBTQ people “deviants” whose misappropriation of the rainbow symbol tempts God to destroy the world with fire (not making this up)—were drowned out by people who disagreed with them in a sort of intra-thread ratioing.

Most people who commented were just there to dunk on the tweet.

“What is even up with you guys at this point,” asked one. “Who among us has not attempted to get run over by a car to make a non-existent political point to bigots?” another inquired.

“Nobody tell him the rest of the street is Black, he’ll never be able to leave the house,” joked @tarbosaur. “Just in: man defeated by CareBear Stare,” quipped @crocsushi.

Several people were inspired. “If we paint rainbow lines in front of voting stations, they can’t enter y’all, chalk it up like people use salt lines to keep out demons,” suggested @HallionI.

As a few Twitter users pointed out, there’s a couple of problems with the original tweet: 1) the photo is actually a five-year-old Associated Press image; and 2) the man didn’t “refuse” to cross anything.

The original image by photographer David Goldman is literally called, “A pedestrian waits to cross a rainbow painted crosswalk in midtown Atlanta, Friday, Oct. 9, 2015.”

People will be happy to know that no one was hurt in the making of this inaccurate tweet.

The crosswalks, though, have become a permanent feature of downtown Atlanta.

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Claire Goforth

Claire Goforth

Claire Goforth is a Jacksonville, Florida-based journalist covering politics, culture, justice, and unicorns. Her work has appeared in publications ranging from regional alt-weeklies to Al Jazeera.