Yahoo! Lifestyle fell for a satire article reporting that police charged a robbery suspect in a Day of the Dead mask with cultural appropriation in addition to robbery charges.
The outlet retracted its entire article after realizing the story was a spoof and apologized for failing to meet editorial standards.
What are the details of the story?
The Santa Monica Observer reported on a real bank robbery suspect in a Day of the Dead mask, but satirized the portion about charges of cultural appropriation.
According to the outlet, the story was never meant to be taken seriously.
Notable portions of the article, which was titled, "Day of the Dead Bank Robber Charged With Cultural Appropriation After Santa Monica Robbery," include:
- Like Barbie, the masked gunman who knocked over a Wells Fargo Bank needs cultural sensitivity training.
- Santa Monica police say he is wanted on charges of bank robbery, assault, and cultural appropriation.
- "It is important to recognize the inherent dignity of indigenous cultures," said the Santa Monica Police Department in a news release. "Use of a Day of the Dead Mask during a robbery can be a separate offense or an enhancement, under the California Penal Code. In this case, the suspect is sought for violating the rights of indigenous peoples, and for bank robbery."
- If sentenced, the unidentified, unwoke bank robber could be made to attend training classes in Cultural Sensitivity, Social Justice, and "woke" culture, in addition to 20 years for bank robbery.
- Excluding the 20 years, he would be treated like any employee at Google, Apple, or Twitter, in other words.
The outlet shared an update on Wednesday, having to point out the satirical details included in the post.
The update read, "This article, which was picked up by Yahoo News, is intended as satire. No one from the SMPD actually said the unidentified bank robber could be charged with cultural appropriation. We thought it was kind of obvious."
What's even real anymore?
A male suspect did actually rob a Wells Fargo Bank in Santa Monica, California, last week.
Police are still seeking the unidentified suspect — who was wearing a Day of the Dead mask — after he reportedly made off with a sum of money estimated to be between $3,000 and $5,000.
In a statement, Wells Fargo said, "We are working with law enforcement and are unable to provide more details as this is an ongoing criminal investigation. Wells Fargo values and promotes diversity and inclusion in all aspects of business at all levels. We do not tolerate racism, cultural appropriation, or discrimination of any kind."
A spokesperson for the Santa Monica Police Department told Blue Lives Matter that it worked with Yahoo! Lifestyle to yank the article, or correct it. The department also issued a statement on their Facebook page, which said, "The Santa Monica Police Department takes all crimes seriously and while we understand the Observers attempt at humor, the quotes attributed to the Department are false. The suspect in the Wells Fargo Robbery remains outstanding and we continue to work with federal officers and our local partners in identifying the offender."
Yahoo! Lifestyle removed the original posting on Wednesday and issued a clarification.
“The article that was previously posted here did not meet our editorial standards," the website wrote. “Upon further review, Yahoo Lifestyle learned that details included in the story came from a satirical post that was published by a local news outlet. We regret the error and are reviewing our editorial processes."