At least four members of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus are convicted pedophiles.
A satirical video produced by the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus recently created controversy within conservative media. The message of this video is aimed at homophobic people. It begins by playing on a homophobic stereotype that gay people will corrupt children, then goes on to sarcastically inform the people that believe this that they are correct, but that the message that they are corrupting children with is that they will become tolerant of LGBTQ people. Amidst the controversy, a number of sources are spreading the claim that the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus contains convicted child sexual abusers.
On social media, users have shared this claim as factual and have gained hundreds of interactions in the process. Sources that state that the chorus could contain child sexual abusers have also gained hundreds of interactions.
The child sexual abusers that the source claims to be members of the chorus all have common names. Searching for the first name accused in the article produces thousands of results. The second produces hundreds, and the third produces hundreds. The fourth name appears to be a man who does not live in San Francisco.
It is unlikely that this individual has moved from his location to San Francisco, as sex offenders in California are required to inform law enforcement agencies of their address within five days of entering a community. They must also update their address annually.
The news update also uses a Twitter post comparing the image of one of the sex offenders in the database to one of the singers in the satirical video as evidence. While these two men resemble one another, this does not prove that they are the same. The individual on the sex offender registry looks similar to a number of the singers in the video. In the image, he could also reasonably be the person in the box directly to the right. Or he could be the person below the top right-hand corner box. He cannot be all off these individuals. This highlights why it is impossible to claim as a fact that the person in the sex offender register is the same man.
The sites spreading these stories all have reputations for posting false claims. The New York Times described The Western Journal as "a torrent of sensationalized, misleading, or entirely made-up stories, often aimed at Muslims and immigrants.” They have also been blacklisted by Google and Apple News. Natural News has a reputation for posting anti-science content, and once compared journalists to Nazi collaborators.
Accusing innocent people of crimes such as these can have devastating effects on both the accused, as well as victims. False claims can distract from true issues rather than confront the reality of child sexual abuse.