Satirical LGBTQ Pride flag story spreads out of context online

Threads posts with thousands of interactions claim a man in the US state of Iowa mistakenly burned his house down while attempting to ignite an LGBTQ Pride flag. This is false; the claim stems from a comedy account on X and was reshared without satire disclaimers.

"Breaking: A MAGA fan in Iowa accidentally burned down his house today trying to burn a gay pride flag," says text in a screenshot of an X post shared June 11, 2024 on Threads with the caption: "Happy Pride Month."

Another Threads post shared the same screenshot with the caption: "Stupid, homophobic and homeless is no way to go through life."

<span>Screenshot of a Threads post taken June 18, 2024 </span>
Screenshot of a Threads post taken June 18, 2024
<span>Screenshot of a Threads post taken June 18, 2024</span>
Screenshot of a Threads post taken June 18, 2024

Similar posts have circulated on Instagram, garnering tens of thousands of interactions.

The posts come in the middle of Pride Month, during which US agencies warn the LGBTQ community faces an increased risk of attacks.

Comments on the posts -- including users writing "karma" -- suggest some people believe the claims are true. Others use the posts to criticize supporters of "MAGA," a reference to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's slogan "Make America Great Again."

However, the story about a flag burning gone wrong is unfounded.

The X post in the screenshot was originally published June 11 by The Halfway Post, which says it shares comedy and satire (archived here).

The account also links to a Medium page for Dash MacIntyre, a self-proclaimed "political satirist" who runs the X page (archived here).

<span>Screenshot of an X account taken June 18, 2024</span>
Screenshot of an X account taken June 18, 2024

Keyword searches for recent house fires in Iowa found articles debunking the post, but no official reports from local media or emergency responders.

More of AFP's reporting on misinformation about the LGBTQ community is available here.