Following the terrorist attack near a mosque in north London, fake reports started circulating on Twitter that British authorities identified the attacker as an American man named Sam Hyde:
#FinsburyPark London police release the identity and driver’s license of the murderous terrorist. An American expatriate named Sam Hyde… pic.twitter.com/vbIPvmz4ud
— Pazuzu (@rpazuzu) June 19, 2017
However, no such claim has been made by Met Police or other law enforcement agencies.
Sam Hyde is a familiar face for whoever has been watching hoaxes and fake news closely in the past few years.
This ID was found on the Finsbury Park attack suspect pic.twitter.com/pfVXX33rck
— Alex Witoslawski (@alexwitoslawski) June 19, 2017
Hyde is an internet comedian who co-founded Million Dollar Extreme, a sketch comedy group, but is probably best known for his satirical TEDx talk about the wonders of the future at Drexel University in 2013.
But Hyde has also frequently been misattributed as the "lone white gunman" in virtually all the mass shootings in the United States and terrorist attacks in Europe of the past few years.
Hyde was mentioned during the San Bernardino, Kalamazoo, Baton Rouge, Orlando Night Club shootings, just to mention a few:
In July 2016, he was falsely identified as the suspect in a shooting spree at a shopping mall in Munich, Germany:
Far-right social media users use a photo or video of him after any breaking news involving a shooting or terror attack in a bid to fool the media into thinking he’s the attacker.
Hyde has a history of bizarre pranks and offensive performances — some of them openly racist and homophobic.
He’s also a member of the alt-right — his twitter account @Night_0f_Fire spewed hatred for Hillary Clinton, support for Donald Trump, called Lena Dunham a "fat pig" and mocked Black Lives Matter before being suspended — and was involved in the Gamergate.
Last year, his Million Dollar Extreme Presents: World Peace was suspended from Adult Swim after controversy.
It’s really not clear how the meme started, although it appears to have been originated from 4Chan. It’s also unclear whether the /pol/ 4Chan community hates or loves him, though it’s probably the former, judging from this picture of him posted in the aftermath of the most recent attack in London.
In an e-mail response to BuzzFeed News, Hyde said the trend of misidentifying him as a suspect following shooting or terror attacks was part of an "anti-Semitic" bullying campaign.
"They were targeting a bunch of people but I suppose my name is the one that stuck," he said.
"It is definitely anti-Semitic because when this all started going down I was receiving a ton of emails with things written like ‘you’re dead Kike’ and ‘commie Jew Fuck’ … shit like that."
In another comment to Forbes, Hyde first dismissed the fake framing attempts with a joke — "It’s crazy, haha, yeah, crazy, haha!" — then admitted he’s been questioned by authorities over the Twitter rumours.
“My wife’s boyfriend (open relationship) heard it from the news first and so he and my wife’s son were both scared silly for a few days before everything was explained," he said. "I also got a call from my rabbi frantically trying to talk me out of doing anything more violent until finally I managed to explain to him that it was a hoax.”
Meanwhile, some Russian media fell for it: