In late January 2023, a Snopes reader asked us to determine the legitimacy of a photo that supposedly showed a group of officers wearing "gas stove unit" signs on their uniforms and standing around a gas stove that they seemingly confiscated. The photo gained traction on Reddit and other platforms weeks earlier.
The image was a work of satire and did not literally show a police team known as the "gas stove unit." The words on the officers' uniforms, as well as the white stove, were digitally added to a 2018 photograph of Texas officers standing around a table after a drug bust.
The meme spread online after a member of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), in a January interview with Bloomberg, floated the idea of a ban on gas stoves to curb concerns over their environmental impact. The CPSC later clarified that it was not considering a ban, but, rather, it was planning to gather public feedback on the appliance's potential hazards. Nonetheless, some social media users spread the erroneous notion that federal officials — under the leadership of a Democratic president, Joe Biden — were indeed preparing to prohibit, or criminalize, households with gas stoves.
The doctored image comes from a photograph that was its own social media sensation back in 2018. The Facebook page for the Tenaha Police Department in Texas reportedly posted the photograph showing officers standing around a table with what appeared to be marijuana, prescription pills, drug paraphernalia, packaging materials, guns, and cash, according to a local news station. As of this writing, the original post from the police department's Facebook page was no longer available; however, the local news station, KTRE-TV, cited the post.
The photograph quickly became a meme, with social media users poking fun at the scene. With digital-editing software, they added different items on the table.
(Source: @antonwing/Instagram screenshot)
In January 2023, the meme made a comeback to mock the alleged seizure of gas stoves by Democrats. We addressed the alleged controversy over the household appliance in an earlier post, in which the CPSC confirmed that it has not proposed stricter regulations, nor a ban, on gas stoves. Such changes, the agency said, would "involve a lengthy process."
The Reddit post with the doctored image of officers posing around a stove includes a "satire" label, and a number of other posts promoting the image appeared to do so in a tongue-in-cheek manner. This claim is "Labeled Satire."