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Louisville Purge Hoax refers to a practical joke orchestrated by a Louisville, Kentucky teenager who disseminated a false rumor via Twitter announcing the observance of a free-for-all, violent purge across the city for 10 hours and 30 minutes on the Friday night of August 15th, 2014. The “purge” scare was subsequently debunked as a hoax inspired by the plot of the 2013 horror film The Purge.
On August 10th, 2014, an unnamed teenager posted a tweet asking who would assist him in starting a “Louisville Purge” (shown below).
On August 15th, 2014, Twitter user Jeremy Daugherty tweeted a photoshopped promotional poster for the film The Purge advertising the hoax event, claiming that the placards had been hung up around Louisville (shown below).
The same day, Redditor mbritt74 submitted a post titled “Louisville Purge megathread” to the /r/Louisville subreddit for discussions and updates related to the purge. A page was subsequently created on the hoax database website Snopes, labeling the rumor as “false.”
Also on August 15th, the manualredeye SoundCloud feed posted an audio interview with the student responsible for starting the rumor, who claimed that is was supposed to be “just a joke” and that he had been kicked off the football team for the hoax (shown below).
News Media Coverage
Later that night, Thought Catalog published a live blog of the evening, including reports of increased police scanner activity, explosions and shots being fired. The following day, Gawker published an article about the hoax, referring to the Thought Catalog piece as a “fictional account.” In the coming days, additional news sites reported on the incident, including NY Daily News,BBC News, Time, People, E! Online and UpRoxx. According to the Cincinanati, Ohio news station WLWT, rumors of other hoaxes subsequently spread to Detroit, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Miami and Cleave.
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