Russian Media Rush To Cite Fake Story About Strongman Accidentally Breaking Up LGBT Rally

Several state-run outlets ran the story from a Ukrainian website that specializes in “satirical fake news.”

Russian state media printed a fake story from the Ukrainian version of the Onion Monday which claimed that a group of gay rights protestors in the Ukrainian city of Lviv abruptly dispersed on Saturday when they saw a body builder who won the World’s Strongest Man title in rushing towards them.

Russia Today, state news agency RIA Novosti, and Kremlin-linked citizen journalism platform Ridus all rewrote the story from the Ukrainian website UaReview, a parody website that specializes in “satirical fake news.” It prominently displays a slogan - “We write the truth every day. Honest*” - which leads to a disclaimer in a footnote that says “All these online events and characters are fictional. Any coincidence with real people and events are coincidental.”

Russia Today later removed the story and replaced it with a different one, according to the independent news website Lenta.ru. At the time of writing, RIA’s English version and Ridus’ were still up.

The story’s relative lack of outlandishness seemed to be what fooled the state media outlets, which regularly publish stories such as “One-Legged Russian Accused of Killing One-Handed Friend” and “80-Year-Old Russian Headbutts Bear, Survives.” In the fake story, the bodybuilder said he had no idea the rally was even taking place — he was just on his way to the dentist and looked pissed off because he had a bad toothache.

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