Last week, TheBlaze reported on a call to a radio station that went viral. It was woman named “Donna” saying deer crossing signs posed a risk to motorists, and officials should no longer encourage the deer to cross at these areas. Radio and TV outlets around the world played the call and brought attention to “Donna the Deer Lady.” There’s just one problem with the story: we think it was probably a setup — either by just the caller or by the radio station.
We’ve been researching ever since the initial recording hit the Internet, and we’ve discovered several things:
- Late comic George Carlin used to tell a joke about the exact same topic. How do they get the deer to cross at that yellow road sign?
- Snopes.com tracked the story back to 2011. Someone wrote to the site and asked about a letter that was rumored to have been printed in an Indiana newspaper:
- Mr. Abbott’s letter was published in the Muster, Indiana Times in August of 2011.
- Jay Leno’s writers picked up the story and read it on a “Tonight Show” segment that frequently covers funny or strange stories from small town newspapers.
- Star Trek’s George Takei also posted the story on his Facebook page on June 4th of this year.
Almost a year after the letter appeared in the local Indiana paper, a follow up story was printed. Aside from reporting that Abbott’s car actually struck a deer very close to the sign discussed in the initial letter, the author admitted that his note had a light-hearted agenda:
“Really all I wanted was to get a little rise out of people.”
All of the above facts seem to point to a hoax. And yet the radio show, the Y94 Playhouse, is continuing to push Donna and her unfolding story on its audience:
Considering the number of hits to the original clip (over two million), the complete lack of specifics about Donna in the call (she never really mentions a town, a location, where she works, etc.), and the lack of a television interview with her leads this experienced journalist to suspect that this is a scam.
TheBlaze has requested confirmation of the existence of “Donna” from the Y94 Playhouse. If they provide verification, we will update the story.
(H/T: Opie and Anthony)