CLAIM

Orlando nightclub shooter Omar Mateen's final text to his wife admitted he was gay.

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RATING

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ORIGIN

In July 2016, a fake news web site played on rumors that Omar Mateen, who killed 49 people in a mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, committed the horrendous crime (at least in part) because was himself gay. In a completely fabricated article, that site reported the supposed final text message Mateen sent out before he was shot by police:

The FBI today released the final text message sent out by Omar Mateen to his wife just two hours after he started his attack at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando that killed 49 people and injured 53 others. In the text, Mateen said, “I’m gay. I hate myself, and that’s why I’m doing this.”

The Muslim gunman who committed the Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando, was “100 percent” gay and bore a grudge against Latino men because he felt used by them, according to a man who says he was his lover for two months.

“I’ve cried like you have no idea. But the thing that makes me want to tell the truth is that he didn’t do it for terrorism. In my opinion he did it for revenge,” he told Univision Noticias anchor Maria Elena Salinas in an exclusive interview in English and Spanish.

There was no truth to the story, which originated with a malware site that illegally appropriates the trademarks of a legitimate news organization (ABC News) and publishes fictitious clickbait stories to lure readers to the site and generate revenue. However, the popular Spanish newspaper El Mundo was fooled by the fake item and ran it as a (since-removed) straight news item:

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The mistake caused the same item to be aggregated by other Spanish-language news outlets, including Uruguay’s El Pais, Peru’s El Comerico, Paraguay.com, and Ecuador’s Expreso:

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