Have you seen claims on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook that Garth Brooks has cancelled the grand opening of his new bar in Nashville? The claim has gone viral, with over 4 million people reading about it on Twitter alone. But it’s completely fake.
Brooks recently became the subject of some backlash in right-wing media after he said that anyone and everyone is welcome at his new bar. The country music legend was responding to the controversy around Bud Light and Dylan Mulvaney, a trans influencer who was sent some cans of the beer with her face on it. The promotion led to calls of a boycott by anti-trans activists.
But Brooks has made it clear that his new bar, the Friends In Low Places Bar & Honky Tonk, in Nashville, Tennessee was a place for everyone. And Brooks made it clear that if you have hatred for other human beings, you should go to a different bar.
“I want it to be a place you feel safe in, I want it to be a place where you feel like there are manners and people like one another,” Brooks said. “And yes, we’re going to serve every brand of beer. We just are.”
Those comments have put Brooks in hot water with some far-right extremists who are waging a hate campaign against the LGBT community. And the fake news website, the Dunning-Kruger Times, wrote a “satirical” article claiming Brooks had lost investors in the bar. The Dunning-Kruger Times specializes in fake news, as the About page of its website explains.
The fake article reads, in part: “Three investors with a massive stake in the venture pulled out, telling Garth that he had spoiled the project. Brooks was forced to cancel his grand opening and consider his options.”
But it’s simply not true, despite getting significant promotion from people like actor Antonio Sabato Jr., whose link to the fake article on Twitter has received over 1 million views. Vince Langman, another right-wing influencer on Twitter, shared a link to the fake article that’s been viewed over 1.2 million times.
The fake article went on to suggest Brooks would turn his bar into a gay bar, a common joke in right-wing media right now. The better known conservative satire site The Babylon Bee went with the headline, “Garth Brooks Opens Gay Bar,” just a few days ago.
The Dunning-Kruger Times has disclaimers on its website that all of the “news” is fake, but that hasn’t stopped it from getting major traction across social media. Just last week, an article from the website claimed KitchenAid was pulling its products from Target over the retailer’s Pride Month displays. The news was completely fake.
The Dunning Kruger Effect is an idea in psychology that the dumbest people are the most likely to overestimate their intelligence and abilities.
The conservative-led backlash against Bud Light has also caused a number of fake images to go viral in recent months. Back in April, a video went viral on Facebook and Twitter claiming that upset Bud Light drinkers were steamrolling cases of the beer. The video actually showed local authorities in Mexico destroying beer that had been confiscated at the U.S.-Mexico border during the covid-19 pandemic.
But it’s not just right-wing influencers who are falling for fakes during this current moral panic over trans people and their right to exist. A prankster on TikTok created some fake Bud Light billboards that simply read “LOL Crybabies.” Those billboards were also fake and in reality Anheuser-Busch caved to those who freaked out about a trans influencer hawking beer. Two executives from the campaign were put on leave.
As a result, it seems nobody on either side of the Bud Light story is happy. Bud Light dropped from its number one spot as America’s best-selling beer this week, with Modelo becoming America’s new favorite beer. Modelo, it should be pointed out, is also owned by Anheuser-Busch.
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