An apparent attempt at harassment against a woman in Cottage Grove, Oregon in August 2019 was amplified through social media on several platforms, and at least one blog post took the false claim at face value.
A photograph of 31-year-old Amber Lee Hughes was first spotted in a Reddit online board with her face and phone number posted on a flier advertising babysitting services but for “white kids only.” The flyer also falsely identifies her as “Debra Allen.” As often happens, the fake flyer was also posted by users on Twitter and Facebook, and was the subject of a post on the blog Babygaga, which treated it as legitimate.
But the Oregon news organization Eugene Weekly debunked the hoax and spoke to Hughes, who is currently a college student studying to become a chef. She said that the spread of the flyer online has forced her to change her phone number after people calling her making threats.
“It hurts,” Hughes said. “I’m mad, I’m angry and I just want it to stop.”
Hughes said that an ex-boyfriend may have been responsible for the fake flyer, and flatly denied harboring any racist sentiment.
“I don’t care what skin color you have,” she said. “We all have the same feelings, and this kind of stuff is just mean and rude. If I hear someone say something racist, I look at them like, ‘Really?'”
We contacted Babygaga seeking comment on their story, but did not yet receive a response. We also contacted police in Cottage Grove regarding the hoax, but we have not yet received a response.