And Ashley Makes Three

We in America seem to have a very sad tradition. It is the tradition of falsely claiming to have been attacked for reasons based on Race, Religion, or Politics. We had Tawana Brawley, and then Safia Jilani. Now Ashley Todd makes three. Here are three young women who preyed upon longstanding fears and expectations of wrongdoing in order to either gain attention or to further their particular agendas:

Tawana Brawley claimed that six White law enforcement officers abducted and raped her, scrawled racial insults on her body, and smeared her with feces .

Those claims were declared a hoax by a grand jury.


Muslim student activist, Safia Jilani claimed that she was attacked in the bathroom at the Southwestern suburban college.  The incident was declared a “hate crime” when local police found threatening and Islamaphobic graffiti written on the bathroom’s mirrors and walls.

Local police later announced that an investigation determined the assault never occurred at all. It was a hoax.


Ashley Todd claimed that she was attacked by a Black man who robbed her and then – upon seeing her McCain-Palin bumpersticker – carved a “B” into her face while berating her.

She later admitted that this a hoax.


There have of course been others who have perpetrated such hoaxes. Three three are just ones who have in relatively recent times committed such atrocities and gained national media attention.

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4 Responses to “And Ashley Makes Three”

  1. Mssc54 Says:

    Let us not forget Susan Smith (a young white woman) who after drowning her children in a lake, claimed a black man car jacked her car with her children in it.

    She is serving life in prison in SC.

  2. jonolan Says:

    Yes, we shouldn’t forget her, Mssc54 – though she seems no to have done it for attention or to further an agenda. She just needed a cover story. Still, thanks for mentioning her.

    Strangely enough, I had completely forgotten that she tried to claim she’d been attacked. I only remembered the part about her drowning her kids.

  3. Paradigm Says:

    We have these girls (and occasionally adult women) in Sweden too. I remember one who claimed to have been attacked by nazis, who supposedly had carved a swastika on her skin. Later she admitted that she had done it to herself.

    And there is a spectacular rape or kidnapping almost every year that turns out to be a hoax. I guess life is hard for young girls who don’t get any attention.

  4. jonolan Says:

    I’m strangely gladdened that Sweden has this problem as well, mostly because I’m thankful that this isn’t a uniquely American failing. Of course it could just be a case of schadenfreude on my part as well.


    There does seem to be a difference though, at least in the nature of the hoaxes that get national attention. The Swedish cases you’re referencing seem to be a case of people seeking attention. The American cases that reach national prominence seem to be based on political agendas.

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