Claim: Three animal rights activists went missing after protesting the use of leather at a motorcycle gang rally.
Example: [GlossyNews, 2010]
Activists Missing After Declaring "War on Leather" at Motorcycle Rally
Local and state police scoured the hills outside rural Johnstown, Pennsylvania, after reports of three animal rights activists going missing after attempting to protest the wearing of leather at a large motorcycle gang rally this weekend. Two others, previously reported missing, were discovered by fast food workers "duct taped inside several fast food restaurant dumpsters," according to police officials.
[Rest of article here.]
Origins: Even those who don't particularly follow the animal rights movement are generally aware of some of the publicity stunts that organizations such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) have engaged in to call attention to their cause, such as attempting to elicit sympathy for fish by rebranding them as
Against this background, it's probably not surprising that some readers would take at face value the article referenced above, which describes a group of animal rights activists who decided to stage a protest against the use of leather at a motorcycle gang rally, and for their efforts ended up being duct-taped inside restaurant Dumpsters or force-fed hamburgers by annoyed bikers:
According to witnesses, protesters arrived at the event in a vintage 1960's era Volkswagen van and began to pelt the gang members with balloons filled with red colored water, simulating blood, and shouting "you're murderers" to passers by.
The spoof spread so widely that the local newspaper in the town where the fictitious story was set, the Johnstown [Pennsylvania]
"Aren't you going to look into this?" one caller asked.
Another accused us of hiding the truth to protect the rally.
Lisa Rager, executive director of the Greater Johnstown/Cambria County Convention and Visitors Bureau, which plans and organizes the [annual "Thunder in the Valley" motorcycle] rally, said this was not the first tall Thunder tale she'd heard.
"Believe me, we've heard many different rumors," she said. "But I have to say, this is probably the most interesting one."
Rager hopes not many people took the story seriously.
Johns, Arlene. "This Hog Tale Had No Substance." The [Johnstown] Tribune-Democrat. 24 January 2010.