Metro Weekly

Was the Baltimore “relentlessly gay” yard fundraiser a hoax?

Snopes investigation raises numerous questions about Julie Baker's $43,000 fundraiser

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When a Baltimore woman last month took to social media to proclaim that she’d been targeted for having a “relentlessly gay” yard by Christian neighbors, thousands rushed to her defence. When she then started a GoFundMe campaign to fund an even gayer yard, thousands of eyebrows were raised.

Julie Baker’s initial campaign goal was a mere $5,000, but donations soon swelled that total to $43,000 — at which point she finally deactivated the page. However, after an investigation by Snopes, several questions have been raised about the accuracy of her story.

Baker’s anonymous note, which was signed “A Concerned Home Owner” and asked her to “tone down” her yard, has been closely examined. The writing style of the letter, with its reliance on improper capitalization, is incredibly similar to Baker’s own — comparisons to her blurb on the GoFundMe page, for instance, shows a similar use of capitalized words. Queerty investigated her Facebook page and found several ant-Christian rants which employed a similar style of writing to the original note, as well. Baker has since made her profile private.

Snopes contacted Baker about her claims, only for her to state that she had been contacted by the police and “they are satisfied with me.” She added that they “have no reason to believe that I have done anything wrong or been anything but authentic. They even have the long history of the various things that have happened to me since moving into my house.”

However, last month, Snopes contacted a detective at Baker’s precinct, to be told that Baker’s account of her interaction with the police was false. Instead, Snopes noted that Baker was “either unwilling or unable to produce the letter in question, and that she had maintained it was no longer in her possession.” The detective added that the police had tried to meet Baker, but hadn’t been able to.

Baker responded to the criticisms when she eventually deactivated fundraising on her GoFundMe page.

“I want to humbly thank everyone for their extreme generosity. Please now, take all of this good energy and help each other,” she wrote. “I just learned moments ago that I could turn off the donations, and I am doing so because I there is plenty, more than plenty, above and beyond the goal.

“On a sadder note, the world is filled with hate and fear, as such I want to work to remove any doubt about the authenticity of the letter,” she continued. “Until then I am not taking a dime out of this account.”

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Rhuaridh Marr is Metro Weekly's managing editor. He can be reached at rmarr@metroweekly.com.

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