On Dec. 16, 2023, Latherland.com, a site that is a part of the America's Last Line of Defense network of websites and social media pages, published an article positing that the organizers of the Academy Awards had announced the replacement of the ceremony's original host, Whoopi Goldberg, because she was too controversial. The new host would be Keanu Reeves, according to the article, which began as follows:
Academy Awards Replaces “Controversial” Whoopi Goldberg with Keanu Reeves as MC
The 109th Annual Academy Awards announced a major shift in its hosting lineup. Whoopi Goldberg, who was told last March that she was chosen to head the show in 2023, was snubbed by the ceremony committee.
“Ms. Goldberg has become too toxic and controversial,” said Committee Chairman Joe Barron, “I’d say it was a difficult decision but it really wasn’t. She more or less did this to herself.”
The article was shared to the America - Love It Or Leave It Facebook page, which is also associated with America's Last Line of Defense. On Facebook, the post gained over 70,000 likes and 7,000 comments, most of which applauded the supposed decision.
However, the article was not an accurate depiction of real events. The America's Last Line of Defense network, including Latherland.com, is dedicated to posting satirical news stories that are not true, as explained on the website's About Us page:
Everything on this website is fiction. It is not a lie and it is not fake news because it is not real. If you believe that it is real, you should have your head examined. Any similarities between this site’s pure fantasy and actual people, places, and events are purely coincidental and all images should be considered altered and satirical. See above if you’re still having an issue with that satire thing.
Ignoring the fact that this article was labeled satirical by its publisher, there were two factual errors that deserved a bit of further investigation.
First: the article noted that Goldberg was supposed to host the 2023 Academy Awards. This does not make sense, as the 2023 Oscars happened the previous March, long before the Latherland article was posted. However, further research revealed that the article on Latherland was identical to a February 2023 article from the Dunning-Kruger Times, another site in the America's Last Line of Defense network. The only difference between the two articles was the headline.
Second: Goldberg was never in line to host the 2023 (or 2024 ceremony). Comedian Jimmy Kimmel hosted in 2023 and was scheduled to do so again in 2024.
Snopes frequently fact-checks pieces that originated with an America's Last Line of Defense site like Latherland or Dunning-Kruger Times, like a story claiming that half of the voters Taylor Swift had urged to register were either ineligible or fake.
For background, here is why we sometimes write about satire/humor.