A fake news report that a black pastor has been jailed in the US for refusing to conduct a gay wedding has gone viral across social media and some Nigerian news sites have also reported it.
The report says that a pastor from Vermont has been sentenced to one year in federal prison after refusing to wed a gay couple. The rumours trace back to an article on NBC.com.co that reads in part:
–Proctor, VT — A pastor at the Christian Proctor Church in Vermont, has been sentenced to one year in federal prison after refusing to marry gay couples. This comes shortly after the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision ruling that states must allow gay-marriage.
The Christian Pastor, 56-year-old Paul Horner, had his lawyer speak to reporters on his behalf.
According to a website that exposes fake stories, thatsfake.com, the story is the creation of fake news website NBC.com.co. This site is not affiliated with the NBC brand and publishes wholly fake stories. The name in the article – Paul Horner – is a popular pseudonym used by these fake news websites and does not describe a real person.
NBC.com.co is part of a growing number of websites ending in “.co” that attempt to disguise themselves as reputable brands. The list of fake websites doing this includes NYTimes.com.co, washingtonpost.com.co and USAToday.com.co. These are fake news websites and nothing on them should be taken seriously.