Desiree Jennings Dystonia Hoax

Desiree Jennings Dystonia Hoax

Updated Oct 01, 2014 at 12:41AM EDT by Brad.

Added Aug 26, 2010 at 10:31PM EDT by knowyourmom.

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Desiree Jennings Dystonia Hoax refers to an Inside Edition segment in which Ashburn, Virginia cheerleader Desiree Jennings claims to have contracted a crippling illness after receiving an influenza vaccination. The news report inspired a video remix series with different music tracks dubbed over footage of Jennings shaking erratically.


According to Rational Wiki[1], Jennings received a flu shot on August 23rd, 2009 and developed flu-like symptoms shortly after. On September 7th, she visited a hospital claiming she was suffering from fainting spells and convulsions but no doctors could find any evidence of a serious illness. Soon after, Jennings began complaining that she would move erratically if she were not running or walking backwards. Her physical therapist diagnosed her with dystonia, a neurological disorder which causes body jerks or repetitive movements due to muscle contractions. On October 16th, the television news program Inside Edition aired a report about Jennings, featuring footage of Jennings performing spasms and talking with a speech impediment. As of July 16th, 2012, the original upload has accumulated over 1.3 million views.


On October 16th, Jennings launched the website, featuring updates about the status of her condition. On October 21st, YouTuber qwreck1 uploaded a video titled “Walk It Out Dystonia Remix” (shown below), featuring the Inside Edition footage accompanied by the rap song “Walk It Out” by Unk. The same day, the video was featured on the viral content site BuzzFeed.[5]

On October 29th, Jennings recorded a video of herself sitting in a chair in which she revealed that her condition had improved and that several of her online accounts had been hacked (shown below, left). On November 6th, 2009, Redditor prionattack submitted the video in a post to the /r/science[4] subreddit. On February 4th, 2010, Inside Edition aired a follow-up report with secretly taped footage of Jennings driving and shopping unimpaired (shown below, right). After being confronted in a parking lot, Jennings spoke in a strange accent and began walking sideways. On April 2nd, 2011, the Internet humor site Cracked[3] published an article titled “The 6 Most Bizarre Medical Hoaxes People Actually Believed”, which listed the Jennings video as the #1 hoax.

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