HuffPost publishes post urging that white men be disenfranchised, first defends it and then removes it because it was a hoax

13/04/2017 03:56 SAST | Updated 12 hours ago

Huffington Post SA has removed the blog “Could It Be Time To Deny White Men The Franchise?” published on our Voices section on April 13, 2017.

We have done this because the blog submission from an individual who called herself Shelley Garland, who claimed to be an MA student at UCT, cannot be traced and appears not to exist.

We have immediately bolstered and strengthened our blogging procedures that, until now, have operated on the basis of open communication and good faith. From now on, bloggers will have to verify themselves.

We will hold discussions on putting in place even better quality controls.

In addition, we note the commentary on the content of the blog post and will submit it to the South African Press Ombudsman Joe Thloloe for his analysis of the opinion we carried.

Huffington Post SA stands aligned to the Constitutional values of South Africa, particularly the Preamble of our Constitution which states that: “We the people of South Africa believe that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, united in our diversity.”

We further understand that universal enfranchisement followed a long struggle and we fully support this.

In addition, Huffington Post South Africa is a signatory to and supporter of the South Africa Press Code. We support free expression as limited by the following value as set out in that code.

5. Discrimination and Hate Speech

5.1. Except where it is strictly relevant to the matter reported and it is in the public interest to do so, the media shall avoid discriminatory or denigratory references to people’s race, gender, sex, pregnancy, marital status, ethnic or social origin, colour, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief, culture, language and birth or other status, nor shall it refer to people’s status in a prejudicial or pejorative context.

5.2. The media has the right and indeed the duty to report and comment on all matters of legitimate public interest. This right and duty must, however, be balanced against the obligation not to publish material that amounts to propaganda for war, incitement of imminent violence, or advocacy of hatred that is based on race, ethnicity, gender or religion, and that constitutes incitement to cause harm.

We apologise for the oversight. We welcome further discussion. Please email

Well, would they have published the piece if they verified that Shelley Garland did indeed exist? That’s what they imply, but at the same time they say her article violated their own speech code and was “hate speech”. Which is it, PuffHo?

What I think happened is that HuffPo South Africa published a piece that resonated with their own ideology, which includes blaming the world’s woes on white men, without thinking too hard about what it means to take the vote away from a whole group of people and redistributing their property.  And, had the author not been a hoaxer, the article would be up still, because they’d refused to remove it on the grounds of content alone. What we see is a Sokal-style hoax that exposes PuffHo’s identity politics—an invidious identity politics that is explicitly racist.

Well, I’m done with this venue for the time being. Disenfranchising people isn’t right just because they’re not an “oppressed minority”. What happened to equal rights for everyone, including voting rights?


  1. Posted April 19, 2017 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    I’m rather amazed that a South African would not spot this as a hoax straight off, given things like:

    If white men were not allowed to vote, it is unlikely that the United Kingdom would be leaving the European Union, it is unlikely that Donald Trump would now be the President of the United States, and it is unlikely that the Democratic Alliance would now be governing four of South Africa’s biggest cities.

    The Democratic Alliance is moderate, centrist and attempting to appeal to all South Africans, in contrast to the ruling ANC which is “identity politics” personified and riddled with corruption (and technically communist, though they’ve never really attempted to implement that). Thus, to read that quote straight one has to be pretty far gone.

    • Eric Grobler
      Posted April 20, 2017 at 3:20 am | Permalink

      The extreme left will consider the Democratic Alliance as the white/western/capitalist party that represents patriarchal values

  2. Posted April 19, 2017 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    What a spectacular “own goal.”

    The Illiberal Left is gleefully promoting race- and gender-based disenfranchisement, singing its praises as the most effective way to reshape the world to their liking.

    That makes as much sense as a Chihuahua nipping at the heels of a lion.



    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted April 19, 2017 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

      The Ministry of Truth would be proud.

      • Posted April 19, 2017 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

        …and the Ministry of Love would be gentle….



    • Harrison
      Posted April 19, 2017 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

      This is what I find the most infuriating about the modern left.

      We’ve completely abandoned ground where we have an advantage, and begun picking fights we’re almost certain to lose. Identity politics has been pure poison for the left, but it’s a shot in the arm to the right. It’s vitamins and steroids for them. And they’re trouncing us.

      Meanwhile decades of opinion polls tell us Americans love genuine liberal populism, but we don’t run on that kind of thing anymore.

  3. Posted April 19, 2017 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    This may be a hoax but even if it weren’t I see no cause for alarm. Though I’m a white male now if this program were enacted I’d just start to ‘identify’ as a black lesbian and I’d be safe.

    • Posted April 19, 2017 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

      Less unrealistic is that those agitating for this insanity would be involuntarily “identified” as white men and disenfranchised, impoverished, and imprisoned.

      “Be careful what you wish for….”



  4. Geoff Toscano
    Posted April 19, 2017 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    Unbelievable. I can’t think of anything to add.

  5. Hempenstein
    Posted April 19, 2017 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps a poe foisted on PuffHo by some rightwinger?

    • BJ
      Posted April 19, 2017 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

      I couldn’t care less about the political affiliation of the person who perpetrated the hoax. They did a phenomenal job at exposing PuffHo for what it really is, along with regressive ideology.

      Also, from the statement of the hoaxer, they sound like someone who supports liberal principles and is outraged at the corruption of them by the far end of the left.

      • eric
        Posted April 19, 2017 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

        Fully agreed. As the author said, this is very analogous to the Sokal Hoax and it was equally deserved, regardless of whether the author is a liberal, moderate, or conservative.

  6. johnjfitzgerald
    Posted April 19, 2017 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    Hello Professor Coyne,

    I tried posting this to the web site/blog. It did not work.

    Here it is for your consideration.

    Alice Duer Miller was an advocate for Women’s Suffrage and a poet. She wrote the piece in 1915 as a satire.

    Regards, John J. Fitzgerald

    Why We Oppose Votes for Men “Why We Oppose Votes for Men.” National American Woman Suffrage Association, c. 1915. Alice Duer Miller’s sarcastic column was published as a poster by the National Women Suffrage Association.

    Because man’s place is the army. Because no really manly man wants to settle any question otherwise than by fighting about it. Because if men should adopt peaceable methods women will no longer look up to them. Because men will lose their charm if they step out of their natural sphere and interest themselves in other matters than feats of arms, uniforms and drums. Because men are too emotional to vote. Their conduct at baseball games and political conventions shows this, while their innate tendency to appeal to force renders them peculiarly unfit for the task of government.


  7. Diana MacPherson
    Posted April 19, 2017 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    The world really scares me these days.

    • Randy schenck
      Posted April 19, 2017 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

      Keep the faith, or lack thereof. Bill O’Rielly is out at Fox News. Every little victory counts.

      • BJ
        Posted April 19, 2017 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

        I was pretty shocked by that one. Thought they’d stick by him considering the money he brings in. Figured the pure money math would fall to his side, but maybe once PR was factored in it didn’t.

        • Posted April 20, 2017 at 7:43 am | Permalink

          The majority of his advertisers pulled their ads, so he was bringing in much less revenue. If the advertisers hadn’t pulled out, he’d still have a job, no doubt. It was all pure money math.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted April 19, 2017 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

        True but somehow I don’t want to engage in Schadenfreude over it and I don’t know why.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted April 20, 2017 at 8:19 am | Permalink

          Oops I just posted my comment (below this) before I saw yours Diana. Thanks to the bizarre nesting of WordPress it looks like I was replying to your comment.

          So I will.

          Why don’t you think schadenfreude is in order? Could it be the uneasy cautious feeling that it’s an unworthy emotion that cuts both ways and in other circumstances we might be the ones suffering. To which all I can say is, sometimes one has to grab one’s chances when they come up. To which end I will deliberately take the greatest pleasure in watching the downfall of the O’Reilly’s, the Falwells, the Bakkers and their ilk. After all, if I can’t let my eeeevil side loose on O’Brien, when can I? 😉


          • BJ
            Posted April 20, 2017 at 9:17 am | Permalink

            I can’t speak for the other commenter, but I try not to engage in schadenfreude on principle, and usually only do when I am 100% sure that the person did something heinous and that those actions deserve an truly extreme response. I try my absolute best not to engage in it even under those circumstances (because to revel in another person’s suffering is something I think shouldn’t be an option, at least for me), but those are usually the circumstances where it comes up for me.

            Here, we have a man I hate for the ideas he has spouted, and a bunch of allegations for which I have scant to no evidence. I’m doing my best not to engage in schadenfreude (though I admit I failed when I first heard the news).

            I completely understand people like you who do engage in it, and I don’t fault you for it or think you are necessarily wrong to do so (I only think it’s truly wrong when people engage in schadenfreude against people who are accused of something but haven’t been taken to court and convicted, or against ideological opponents for the sole reason that those people had the gall to disagree with them), but I figured it might be helpful to explain why some people try not to fall under the spell.

            • infiniteimprobabilit
              Posted April 20, 2017 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

              Well, as you saw from my post, I have instinctive reservations about schadenfreude too. But in this case, I think O’Reilly’s success is built on his purveying of ignorant, bigoted and anti-science propaganda.

              If he’d actually been charged with criminal offences, I quite agree that presumption-of-innocence should absolutely apply; but since in this case what he’s lost is a position of influence and claimed moral authority which (IMO) he did not deserve in the first place, I’ll give myself permission to let go.


        • Posted April 20, 2017 at 10:37 am | Permalink

          True but somehow I don’t want to engage in Schadenfreude over it and I don’t know why.

          For me, it’s because real people were really harmed by his predation — and yet he remains unrepentant and defiant and the Dittoheads will still love him. And it seems unlikely that the Fox management is going to do anything to address the frat-house culture they’ve clearly got, so the rest of the women there and any non-asshole men are still stuck in a nasty situation to their disadvantage.

          Yes, it’s good that he no longer has this particular megaphone, especially considering how loud it was. But that’s about the only change for the better I see likely to come out of the mess.


          b& >

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted April 20, 2017 at 8:04 am | Permalink

        Oh yes I saw that!

        I think a massive dose of schadenfreude is in order.

        It couldn’t happen to a more deserving guy!


  8. BJ
    Posted April 19, 2017 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    The fact is, this shows that regressives who claim to support progress are, indeed, very often racist and sexist. They don’t see it that way because they’ve redefined those terms so people who are on their hierarchy of oppression cannot be racist or sexist toward those who are not on that hierarchy (e.g. white people, men, and especially white men). You’re right: the piece would not have been removed if it didn’t turn out to be a hoax.

    The most remarkable thing about all this is that, in the name of “progressive values,” they allowed and defended the idea of disenfranchising hundreds of millions of people based on race and gender. Claiming to fight sexism and racism, and for equality, all while denigrating and now arguing for the disenfranchisement and redistribution of wealth and property based on race? All part of what needs to be done to further their goals. They don’t care about equality; they care about forcing their ideology upon people by any means necessary. That’s how events like Mao’s revolution occur: thinking one is on the “right side of history,” and any and all tools used to further their goals are acceptable as long as the outcome is the one they want.

    Jerry, I do urge you to continue reporting on PuffHo and places like it. It’s important to bring these issues to light for more people. New people start reading your blog every day, and I assume most don’t go too far back into the archives (if at all). Please, continue to expose these odious pieces of propaganda.

    Democracy can be messy and it never produces the outcomes that every single person wants. That’s kind of the point of it. It requires compromise, engagement with one’s intellectual adversaries, and the freedom to espouse and hear all voices and views. The regressives directly oppose all of these things, and nothing has made it more clear than this debacle.

  9. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted April 19, 2017 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    An older remedy to majority rule was to have inalienable rights that could not be voted away no matter what the majority said and to make government constitutional.

    At some point in time, that was called Republicanism (a long time ago in a galaxy far far away, it seems.)

    (Shirley, you jest!)

  10. Historian
    Posted April 19, 2017 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    One of the many ways the internet has revolutionized our world is that it allows anybody to write anything with a potential readership of millions. Of course, this was very difficult in the pre-internet age when people like “Shirley Garland” would only be heard standing on a literal soapbox. The emphasis must be on the word potential. We have perhaps millions of people throughout the world competing to have their voices heard. The vast majority fail in this endeavor despite their having a website. Outrageous articles, such as the one by the fictitious “Shirley Garland,” may gain some momentary public attention. But the loudest voices may mean that they talk for nobody except themselves. We must avoid the logical fallacy to conclude that these views are representative of any significant group. This unfortunate tendency can be found on both the left and right. For example, it is wrong for those on the left to argue that extreme white nationalists such as Richard Spencer are representative of the Republican Party as a whole.

    As a person of the left, I try to remain vigilant regarding what I consider the disturbing rightward march of the Republican Party. But, I know that the vast majority of Republicans are not Nazis. I realize that there are more than enough real problems in this country that deserve my attention. Extremists on the left and right should be called out so that the acorn doesn’t grow into a tree. But, I will concentrate my energies on working against the real problems this country faces, such as the current occupant of the White House (who is not a Nazi, not even a fascist, but rather an ignorant sociopathic proto-fascist).

    • Historian
      Posted April 19, 2017 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

      “Shelley” not “Shirley”

      • Posted April 19, 2017 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

        “Shelley” not “Shirley”

        Ah — you’ve just unmasked yourself; we now know that you’re Joe King.




  11. jimroberts
    Posted April 19, 2017 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    This sounds very like the trashy SF novel Renaissance by A. E. Van Vogt, in which an alien race conquers Earth, decides that men are the cause of all humanity’s problems, and deprives them of many rights, including the right to own property and the right to drive vehicles. Women, on the other hand, are denied scientific education.

  12. tubby
    Posted April 19, 2017 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    I still kind of want to try to ghost contribute to a right wing site submitting terrible right wing wankfiction just to see if it gets published.

  13. DrBrydon
    Posted April 19, 2017 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    Internet only news = internet quality news.

  14. aljones909
    Posted April 19, 2017 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

    It looks like the Guardian were caught out a few months ago.
    “It started with Sam Harris, moved on to Milo Yiannopoulos and almost led to full-scale Islamophobia. If it can happen to a lifelong liberal, it could happen to anyone”

    Original article:
    Hoax claim:

    • Harrison
      Posted April 19, 2017 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

      As I recall the Guardian never copped to being conned. Die-hard regressives like Glenn Greenwald still defend the veracity of this story to this day. Without a paper trail there does remain some tiny sliver of doubt that it might be legit, but it’s just so absurd on its face that I’d bet the farm on it being a spoof.

      • colnago80
        Posted April 20, 2017 at 5:23 am | Permalink

        I find it amazing how some otherwise thoughtful people consider self hating Jew and self hating gay man Glenn Greenwald seriously. Try to find any criticism of majority Muslim countries who oppress gays and lesbians on his blog. One would have no difficulty in finding copious criticisms of Israel whose record in attitude towards gays and lesbians stands in stark contrast to that of any majority Muslim country.

        • colnago80
          Posted April 20, 2017 at 7:01 am | Permalink

          My apologies for belaboring this somewhat OT issue but I am willing to bet serious money that this incident will not be covered on Glenn Greenwald’s web site.

        • BJ
          Posted April 20, 2017 at 9:30 am | Permalink

          Glenn Greenwald absolutely disgusts me, especially since he has managed to convince so many people that he is a truly neutral person who just reports the facts of matters. He doesn’t report those facts when they don’t fit his narrative, and he often distorts facts when he does report them for the same reason.

  15. rose
    Posted April 19, 2017 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

    Sorry, as i’ll be 60 soon i can no longer deal with boring stuff,this was boring. Going to go to youtube and watch Christopher Hitchens videos never boring.

    • Posted April 19, 2017 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

      I’m 67 and can’t deal with insufferably rude commenters like you. Who cares what you think? Bye!

    • Eric Grobler
      Posted April 20, 2017 at 2:59 am | Permalink

      The irony is that Christopther would have found this fiasco hilarious.

    • Filippo
      Posted April 22, 2017 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

      I’m reminded of the other day when a 5th grade student, having just left her music special, and, finding it too burdensome to stand still and rest her voice for 2-3 minutes until her class departed for its next scheduled activity, said, “I’m bored!” (As if someone were obligated to entertain her for those few minutes.)

  16. Harrison
    Posted April 19, 2017 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

    “without thinking too hard about what it means to take the vote away from a whole group of people and redistributing their property.”

    I can’t quite agree with this just because the significance of such a thing virtually cannot be overlooked no matter how crude and thoughtless someone might be. The parallels are too obvious. They’re as deliberate as those actually being employed by extremists, which is why it’s such an effective Poe. Some people actually believe this. They haven’t simply overlooked something. They’ve thought hard and come to the conclusion that the correct response to an historical injustice is to recreate it in reverse.

    • BJ
      Posted April 19, 2017 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

      Exactly this.

  17. J. Quinton
    Posted April 19, 2017 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

    Here’s a quick guide to one of the alt-left’s (yes, alt-left like their natural enemies the alt-right) shibboleths:

    Just like no one says “the” Satan — even though that’s what’s in the Bible and is technically correct since satan is Hebrew for adversary — no real alt-leftist says “the” patriarchy.

    It should be easy to remember because both Satan and patriarchy have the same function in their respective ideologies; one is in the religious context and the other, secular.

    • Eric Grobler
      Posted April 20, 2017 at 3:03 am | Permalink

      Good point – even atheists/secularists are unconsciously vulnerable to religious archetypes.

  18. Posted April 20, 2017 at 5:21 am | Permalink

    Well, apart from the obvious fraud, the article is factually incorrect in that white males are no worse in their apparent indiscretions than are women or people of colour. History is full of examples of governments led and supported by oppressive people of all colours, nationalities and genders. It’s simply a matter of what group holds the power to implement their agenda.

    Taking white men out of the mix would only gain some other faction the opportunity for bad behaviour.

  19. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted April 20, 2017 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    “those with black, female-identifying bodies.”

    ‘female-identifying bodies’ ???

    Surely only a mind can ‘identify’ as something?

    I suppose it’s pointless criticising gobbledegook in a hoax, but still…


  20. colnago80
    Posted April 20, 2017 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    And here’s the regressive left blocking another right wing speaker at UC Berkeley. I guess that the muck de mucks at Berkeley are trying to outdo their rivals down the peninsula in Palo Alto.

  21. Kyuss
    Posted April 20, 2017 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    I shrug. Hoax or not, people are allowed to hold vile opinions and say terrible things.

    My question is this: who could possibly implement such a policy? White men who control the political process wouldn’t vote for it and white men who own and administer the economy and military would violently oppose it.

    Exactly who would be marching in to Anytown, USA and telling white dudes that they couldn’t vote and that their property now belonged to the state? The UN? AHAHAHAHAHAH!

    • DiscoveredJoys
      Posted April 20, 2017 at 8:48 am | Permalink

      “No taxation without representation” could become the new rallying cry…

  22. Posted April 20, 2017 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    And yet, the Republican party in America is happy to try and make it as difficult as possible for anyone not white to vote and to keep the vast majority if wealth for the top .1% – they just never come right out and say it.

    • BJ
      Posted April 20, 2017 at 9:21 am | Permalink

      I’m not sure what that has to do with the article Jerry wrote (except to point at some other group and say, “but they’re worse”), but do you really think that, say, Hillary Clinton was going to start redistributing the wealth from her banking and Wall Street cronies?

  23. BJ
    Posted April 20, 2017 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    Well, everyone, turns out the PuffHo published an article doxxing and revealing the entire history of the person who hoaxed them and, as a result, he has lost his job:

    Lovely bunch they have over there working at the PuffHo. Any ethical media outlet would doxx the person who embarrassed them….oh, what….

    • BJ
      Posted April 20, 2017 at 9:42 am | Permalink

      Read the PuffHo piece exposing him here:

      Seems they actually showed up to his place of work and talked to his employers about him, then held a meeting with all of them there just to take him down a peg. Absolutely revolting. The tone of the piece is “hahaha, we got you, asshole.”

      • Posted April 20, 2017 at 9:47 am | Permalink

        I don’t see anything in that piece about HuffPo contacting his employers. Did I miss something?

        • BJ
          Posted April 20, 2017 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

          From the article: “‘Should I get a lawyer or anything?’ Roodt asked HuffPost reporters in a conference room at the CDE, before explaining his motivation for writing a blog making an incendiary proposal using inaccurate statistics.”

          The CDE is his (now former) employer. So the post seems to be saying they actually showed up to his office to have a conference between him, them, and his superiors/coworkers.

  24. Militant Scientist
    Posted April 20, 2017 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    Atticus Aeasy wrote this joke song about disenfranchising white men in 2004 after Bush was re-elected. kissatenniiru made a video for it during this last election. You can enjoy it here.

  25. Eric Grobler
    Posted April 22, 2017 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    Verashni Pillay Resigns As Editor-in-Chief Of HuffPost SA

    Press ombudsman Johan Retief ruled:
    “Let me be short and sweet: If disenfranchisement of anybody (whether white males or black females for that matter) is not discriminatory‚ the meaning of discrimination should be redefined‚” Retief wrote in a hard-hitting 14-page finding.”

  26. Posted May 16, 2017 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on The Logical Place.

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