Was a Couple Arrested for Selling Golden Tickets to Heaven?

Reports that two people in Florida were arrested for selling golden tickets that guaranteed the holders entrance to heaven were fake news.

  • Published 2 April 2015

Claim

Two people in Florida were arrested for selling golden tickets to heaven.

Rating

Origin

On 31 March 2015, the web site Stuppid published an article reporting that two people were arrested in Jacksonville, Florida, for selling golden tickets that guaranteed the holders entrance to heaven upon their demise:

Tito and Amanda Watts were arrested over the weekend for selling “golden tickets to heaven” to hundreds of people. The couple, who sold the tickets on the street for $99.99 per ticket, told buyers the tickets were made from solid gold and each ticket reserved the buyer a spot in heaven — simply present the ticket at the pearly gates and you’re in.

“People can sell tickets to heaven,” a Jacksonville police spokesman said. “But the Watts misrepresented their product. The tickets were just wood spray painted gold with ‘Ticket to Heaven — Admit One’ written in marker. You can’t sell something as gold when it’s not. That’s where the Watts crossed the line into doing something illegal.”

Many readers shared the above-referenced story via social media, apparently believing that two people named Tito and Amanda Watts were actually arrested for perpetrating this form of scam. The report, however, was just another fabricated clickbait tale from a fake news site.

Stuppid.com‘s disclaimer advises readers that the site publishes the “stupidest, craziest stuff we can find,” and the stuff they “find” is typically made up by them. Popular past hoaxes from Stuppid include reports of a Nazi couple accidentally receiving sperm from a black donor, a 14-year-old girl’s giving birth to Jesus, and a toddler’s being thrown from a roller coaster.

The photograph of “Tito Watts” that accompanied the original article was an unrelated 2011 image taken from a collection of bizarre police mugshots

Later versions of this hoax changed the protagonists from a Florida couple to a “Zimbabwe pastor.”

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