Yahoo! is getting serious blowback for an article they published about actor Chris Pratt, using a select handful of tweets to claim that the US/Gadsden flag hybrid on a shirt he was wearing is a symbol of “white supremacy.”
The Yahoo Movies UK (YMUK) article called out Pratt’s t-shirt -which featured the Gadsden rattlesnake atop a US flag- as a symbol of white supremacy, citing all of four tweets from random users as evidence for alarm.
“Andy Dwyer would never wear a shirt emblazoned with a white supremacist dogwhistle,” Amanda Clarke wrote, referencing Pratt’s character on Parks and Recreation. “Chris Pratt is unequivocally the worst Chris.”
Clarke would later delete the tweet.
“I like him, but all these small things about his politics makes me wonder when he’ll say something transphobic, tank his career, and do the full heel-turn into a Fox commentator,” tweeted Tim Byrnes, one of the four sources for the article.
YMUK went over the top with their original headline, which read, “Chriss Pratt criticised for ‘white supremacist’ T-shirt.” They would later alter it to read, “Chris Pratt criticised for T-shirt choice.”
“Although it is one of the symbols and flags used by the US Men’s Soccer Team, Metallica, as well as some libertarian groups, over the years the flag has been adopted by Far Right political groups like the Tea Party, as well as gun-toting supporters of the Second Amendment,” the article read.
It should be noted that TMZ also jumped on the bandwagon, as evidenced by an article titled, “Chris Pratt’s ‘Don’t Tread On Me’ Shirt Has White Supremacy Ties and Stirs Debate.” This title was also changed, likely following backlash.
The flag has its origins during the American Revolution when it was used by the Continental Marines. A similar flag, known as the “First Navy Jack,” is used by the US Navy to this day.
While the flag is used frequently by the fiscally conservative Tea Party movement, it has been used for various causes and events, just as the US flag has. Furthermore, the Tea Party has no official connection to white supremacy movements.
The backlash was made even worse after it was revealed that the shirt reportedly came from the Brain Treatment Foundation, a 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to providing support for research, education and other matters related to helping those with brain injuries, namely “members of the military diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress or a Traumatic Brain Injury.”
“How black does your soul have to be to see a shirt on a celeb & hate-swarm a veterans’ brain injury charity because their T has a patriotic flag?” wrote Inez Stepman, a senior policy analyst at the Independent Women’s Forum and senior contributor for The Federalist. “Yeah, that Gadsen flag tee Chris Pratt was wearing is for an awesome nonprofit.”
Brain Treatment Foundation co-founder Nicole Fisher was shocked at the amount of blind hate she received following the publication of the article.
“Woke up to [over] 5,000 notes today informing me I’m a white supremacist,” she tweeted. “How’s your day so far?”
The BTF has reportedly been inundated with hateful messages since yesterday but refuses to apologize or back down.
“We are honored to work with the silent warriors who sacrifice greatly so that others may live free, who defend our freedom, who live with honor and by the word of God,” the BTF wrote in a statement on Facebook. “These warriors hunt evil to protect our peace, while those who disparage their sacrifices and our nation from behind a computer screen, pretend it doesn’t exist. We are proud of the American flag and all symbols that represent the freedom brave men and women have shed blood for since the inception of our great country.”
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