On 14 March 2017, two days after the release of "Lavender," a controversial, clown-themed music video in which Snoop Dogg is seen firing a prank "Bang!" flag gun at a clown decked out to resemble President Trump, several unreliable web sites posted an article bearing the false claim that the rapper was arrested by the Secret Service for making "violent threats" against the president:
Snoop Dogg, major pothead and advocate of violence as a form of protest, has landed in hot water over his video “Lavender,” in which he shoots Donald Trump. In the video, the rapper shoots a clown version of President Trump with a toy gun, but that’s not what got him in trouble.
After the story went viral, a reporter from Breitbart caught up with Snoop Dogg and asked him if he believed violence was the answer. His response was chilling. He said:
"No, man. I don’t like violence any more than the next guy, but I would hope that if this clown in the White House was about to start a war or somethin’ that someone would do what I did but with a real gun. I know I would and I would encourage anyone who could get close enough to do the same. That’s not violence…it’s survival of the species."
The quote, along with the claim that Snoop Dogg was arrested for making the statement, was entirely fabricated, however. It originated on the fake news web site TheLastLineOfDefense.org, which describes its own content as "satirical":
All articles should be considered satirical and any and all quotes attributed to actual people complete and total baloney.
The intent of the article, presumably, was to spoof expressions of outrage that greeted the video, including that of President Trump himself (who once joked at a campaign event that he could "shoot somebody" and still not lose voters):
Can you imagine what the outcry would be if @SnoopDogg, failing career and all, had aimed and fired the gun at President Obama? Jail time!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 15, 2017
The video was also blasted by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida), according to a TMZ report cited in Billboard:
"Snoop shouldn't have done that. We've had presidents assassinated in this country before so anything like that is really something we should be careful about," Rubio said. "I think people could disagree on policy, but we gotta be careful with that kind of thing, because the wrong person sees that and gets the wrong idea, you can have a real problem. I'm not sure what Snoop was thinking. He should think about that a little."
In his own remarks to Billboard, Snoop Dogg insisted he wasn't looking for controversy, though did he set out to make a statement:
"When I be putting shit out, I don’t ever expect or look for a reaction. I just put it out because I feel like it’s something that’s missing. Any time I drop something, I’m trying to fill in a void," he says. "I feel like it’s a lot of people making cool records, having fun, partying, but nobody’s dealing with the real issue with this f--king clown as president, and the shit that we dealing with out here, so I wanted to take time out to push pause on a party record and make one of these records for the time being."
Snoop Dogg's video for "Lavender," directed by Jesse Wellens, can be viewed in its entirety via YouTube: