A March 27 2021 Facebook post purportedly featured a tweet from commentator Ben Shapiro, in which he described experiencing what he called his “#redpill moment” at age seven during a birthday at school:
The tweet, which was dated March 26 2021 and timestamped at 10:22 AM, read:
My #redpill moment came about when I turned 7 years old. My mom sent me to school with cupcakes for my birthday and the teacher made me share them with my classmates, even the poor ones whose mothers never sent cupcakes for THEIR birthdays. The rage of that day has never left me
Iterations of the screenshot circulated across Facebook, and were popular enough to be crawled by meme aggregator iFunny.co on March 27 2021. Suspiciously, none of the versions circulating linked to either a live or deleted tweet, and we found no trace of its existence using Twitter search.
Similarly, if the tweet had been published and later deleted by Shapiro, no evidence of it appeared on any archives of his or any other Twitter account. A reverse image search led to a post on Reddit’s r/cringepics, published on March 26 2021:
That led to what was likely the source image, a post to Reddit’s r/ToiletPaperUSA. r/ToiletPaperUSA is a parody subreddit, largely consisting of fabricated tweets and other social content attributed to Shapiro, Charlie Kirk, PragerU, and TurningPointUSA:
In both cases, the content in question was had “Fake News” flair added to it, indicating that the submitter had created the tweet or social media post as a parody of PragerU and Shapiro. In all cases we’ve come across (as was the case here), cross-posting to another subreddit (such as r/cringepics) removed the satirical images from their context, and they went on to spread without being labeled satire.
A screenshot of a fake Ben Shapiro tweet stating “My #redpill moment came about when I turned 7 years old. My mom sent me to school with cupcakes for my birthday and the teacher made me share them with my classmates, even the poor ones whose mothers never sent cupcakes for THEIR birthdays” first appeared with a satire label on Reddit on March 26 2021. It was removed from its context, and began circulating as a “real Ben Shapiro tweet” on other sites. However, the image was created to satirize Shapiro’s actual Twitter content, and it was not real.