Some commenters on social media Monday pushed a conspiracy theory about a sixth-grade student who admitted to fabricating her claim that three white classmates forcibly pinned her down and cut her dreadlocks, accusing Trump administration figures of paying off the girl’s family to get her to recant.
Amari Allen, a 12-year-old African-American girl, had accused three white boys in her grade at Immanuel Christian school, in Springfield, Virginia. She said they held her down on a playground during recess, covered her mouth, called her insulting names and used scissors to cut her hair.
The Washington Post reported Monday that Allen confessed to making the story up.
While a majority of commenters were outraged by the hoax, there were some who insisted a hate crime had occurred.
And many of the deniers placed the blame squarely on the shoulders of President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, whose wife Karen works part time at Immanuel Christian as an art teacher.
Tariq Nasheed, a blue-checkmarked provocateur who describes himself as the “the world’s #1 Race Baiter,” was among those who doubted the official account of the incident.
In two posts, which were retweeted and “liked” hundreds of times, Nasheed averred that a sinister “payoff” to Allen’s family had taken place.
That's what you call #hushmoney.
As a matter of fact, I knew something was fishy when they didn't put the identities of the white boys out to the public. Now I see why the media does this; just in case the white supremacists can pay their way out of being held accountable.
— Won00 (@TheRealWon00) September 30, 2019
“This school is connected to the Trump administration because Mike Pence’s wife Karen teaches there. They were DESPERATELY trying to make this story go away,” Nasheed said.
What's it like to be batshit crazy?
— Sen. Clay Davis (@jackeatsdicks) September 30, 2019
And while Nasheed’s comment drew dismissive remarks from many Twitter users, some jumped in to defend his theory.
This happens here (in Columbus) either the kids need to recant and not speak on the incident or they get bullied as well
— Madre 🌗🌖 (@Summer_mattel) September 30, 2019
Nor were Nasheed’s followers the only ones still in denial that Allen had lied:
so the dreadlocks cut themselves?
— kim wiedeman (@florio37) September 30, 2019
Commenters on a thread posted by NBC Washington reporter Shomari Stone accused users who said Allen had made up the story of being “white supremacist” trolls.
Oh ok. You're probably not a lying white supremacist troll trying to protect Karen Pence or anything
— B1 (@AgentProvB1) September 30, 2019
And when presented with a link to The Post’s story reporting Allen’s confession, one user said the girl “was probably pressured to recant by Pence.”
She was probably pressured to recant by Pence
— Kav 🏁 (@Trillfaze) September 30, 2019
A “long season of healing”
On Monday, Allen’s grandparents, who are her legal guardians, released an apology.
“To those young boys and their parents, we sincerely apologize for the pain and anxiety these allegations have caused,” they said. “To the administrators and families of Immanuel Christian School, we are sorry for the damage this incident has done to trust within the school family and the undue scorn it has brought to the school. To the broader community, who rallied in such passionate support for our daughter, we apologize for betraying your trust.”
“We understand there will be consequences and we’re prepared to take responsibility for them,” the grandparents continued. “We know that it will take time to heal, and we hope and pray that the boys, their families, the school and the broader community will be able to forgive us in time.”
After meeting with the girl and her family on Monday morning, the principal, Stephen Danish, also issued a statement and sent an email to parents and community members.
“We can now confirm that the student who accused three of her classmates of assault has acknowledged that the allegations were false. We’re grateful to the Fairfax County Police Department for their diligent work to investigate these allegations,” Danish wrote. “While we are relieved to hear the truth and bring the events of the past few days to a close, we also feel tremendous pain for the victims and the hurt on both sides of this conflict. We recognize that we now enter what will be a long season of healing.”