On Feb. 21, 2023, conservative political commentator Melissa Tate posted a video on Twitter.
It claimed a teacher had started a "communist lunch program," redistributing her white fourth-graders' lunches to "promote equity."
Hi, Ms. Luna, activist teacher here again. And I just wanted to share with you guys about how I am starting a new communist lunch program in my classroom. So what I've been noticing is my white privileged kids, they have much better lunches than my BIPOC students. So I wanted to make sure everything was more equitable in my class, so we started having a communist-style lunch.
So what I do is I ask all of the kids to to put their lunches together, every single item of their lunch in a basket, and then at lunchtime I distribute it all equally to them so they can all have a more equitable lunches.
And I had this white-privileged student. And he's always complaining to me that he's having hummus and carrot sticks while the other kids, the BIPOC kids, are getting the six packs of Oreos. And I tell him, 'You know, even though I'm doing my best to make this equitable, we all still have to make up for 300 years of oppression.'
Text on the cover image of the video said, "Implementing a communist lunch program in my 4th grade class! Equity rules!"
But that actually never happened. The original creator of the video, Kali Fontanilla, has said it's a parody of "woke" public school teachers. In her Twitter bio, she also says, "mask=satire." She is wearing a black mask in the video.
"I don't mind when people think my parody of a woke teacher is real," Fontanilla later wrote on Twitter. She posted the video to the platform three days before Tate did. "I don't mind when they get mad! We need to be angry at what they are doing to our children in our nations schools! People wouldn't believe it to be real if it weren't close to reality."
She added in a reply immediately beneath the original tweet that "Luna," the character she portrays in the video, is a combination of all the so-called "woke teachers" she worked with when she herself was a school teacher.
Fontanilla does not currently work as a teacher and also does not work in a classroom. Her bio on conservative advocacy group PragerU's website says she is a former public school teacher that left her job in California because of "leftist indoctrination." She opened a school that she described on TIkTok as "on demand lessons that counter leftist narratives."
Even when accounts carry satire or parody disclaimers in their profiles, they're easy for social media users to miss. Especially where political hot topics are concerned, people have a tendency to share first and ask questions later. Without looking at Fontanilla's bio, for example, you wouldn't know the mask means the video is meant to be satire.
For background, here is why we sometimes write about satire/humor.