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Homophobic Birthday Party RSVP a Hoax

Sunday Feb 16, 2014
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Steve Harper and Leena Karlson
Steve Harper and Leena Karlson  (Source:K 98.3 website)

It appears as though little Sophia, the six going on seven-year-old whose birthday party invitation snub by a classmate’s homophobic mother, won’t be getting any presents this year. And it’s not because all of her friends’ parents decided to boycott her party. It’s because Sophia never existed to begin with. Reuters reports:

Steve Harper and Leena Karlson, hosts of the drive time "Steve & Leena Show" on Long Island radio station K-98.3 apologized Friday for fabricating a note from a fictitious parent declining a birthday party invitation extended to her seven-year-old son because the birthday girl’s parents were a same-sex couple.

The apology from Steve and Leena, posted on the K-98.3 website reads:

Dear K-98.3 Listeners,

On Wednesday, we told you the story of Sophia’s birthday party, and one parent’s objection to the same-sex household of Sophia’s parents.  We also posted the invitation on our Facebook page, and invited comments from our followers.
This story was, in fact, totally fictitious, and created by the two of us.  This was done without the knowledge of K-98.3 management or ownership.

We were attempting to spur a healthy discourse on a highly passionate topic, but we made a mistake by misleading our listeners into thinking that this specific situation actually existed.

We are very sorry that we perpetuated this falsehood, even after it was clear that it had taken on a ’life of its own.’  We deeply apologize for violating your trust, and we will work hard to regain that trust.

Sincerely, 

Steve & Leeana


The online apology follows three days of headlines surrounding the fictitious note the radio personalities discussed on their program Wednesday and later posted to the station’s Facebook page. Evidence of the note on the K-98.3 Facebook page along with the page for the Steve and Leena show have apparently been scrubbed from the internet.

The note in question read:

Tommy will NOT attend. I do not believe in what you do and will not subject my innocent son to your "lifestyle. I’m sorry Sophia has to grow up this way. If you have an issue or need to speak to me.

A photo of the invitation, which was published on Steve and Leena’s Facebook page, came with the following post:

Steve & Leeana got this from a set of dads in Baldwin who were really upset over how one mom, Beth, chose to respond to their daughter’s birthday party invite. Do you think she was right to write this? Would a simple phone call RSVP’ing "no" been better?

BTW: Beth gave us permission to post her phone number and said anyone who has a problem with what she wrote can call her, too!


The fake note, which went viral on the web and garnered headlines in both the LGBT and mainstream press, drew skepticism on Facebook early on in the hoax.
One user wrote:

it’s not a real phone number... if you do reverse lookup it comes up unpublished or mobile. When I do reverse lookup on phones that I know are definite mobiles, they always come up mobile. I don’t think this story is real or the phone number. Could it really happen yes! Does it happen most definitely!

Another skeptic wrote:

It’s horrible to think people can’t decline an invitation without being hateful. I hope this is fake, like the gay waitress fraud.

The bogus invitation drew a great deal of of ire against the alleged mother and even more sympathy for little fake Sophia, who had numerous offers from Facebook users who own venues who are more than happy to host her party.


Comments

  • Anonymous, 2014-02-16 12:57:46

    A setback for the LGBT movement? Hardly. An embarrassment for all of us, yes, because it makes people feel used and suspicious going forward.


  • Anonymous, 2014-02-16 20:28:28

    If those two did this as a joke, exactly which part was supposed to be funny? If it was to gain sympathy for the gay community, it was an epic fail! Thanks a lot, it hurt us more than it helped!


  • Jonathan Willner, 2014-02-18 13:29:55

    I agree with you Philly Guy. I don’t think it was a joke and I don’t think they were trying to hurt gay people. I think they were trying to get attention and boost ratings and acted, stupidly, irresponsibly and dishonestly. I heard on the TV news that they have been taken off the air, at least temporarily. I think they should be fired permanently. You can contact the radio station to tell it to fire them. K983.com or (631)770-4200. If you call outside of normal office hours, you can leave a voice message.


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