A new wave of bloggers, infotainment, and self-proclaimed social media journalists has largely contributed to the misinformation and misogyny surrounding Megan Thee Stallion's shooting case, NBC News reports.
Rapper Tory Lanez is currently on trial for a 2020 incident in which Megan alleges that he shot her in the foot as they were leaving a party at Kylie Jenner's home. However, if you consume content from some popular hip-hop bloggers, podcasters, or social media accounts, you might be led to believe that Meg is one on trial or question whether she was shot at all.
In this new wave of infotainment, content creators are able to cover consequential events without following journalistic principles. Online personalities garner millions of views by sharing unverified and provocative celebrity rumors with their followers, often contributing to the spread of misinformation.
In the Lanez trial, the defense has argued that Meg and her estranged friend Kelsey Harris were fighting over him, sparking speculation about her sexuality and the intimacy of their relationship.
Popular bloggers and entertainment sites have zeroed in on the pair's sexual history to support theories that Harris may have shot Meg as fought over their love triangle. These narratives have gone viral on social media.
“It’s been very clear, as I’ve seen entertainment and gossip spaces commenting on the case, that she has been set up as someone who is out for herself, lying, and problematic in all these ways,” said Catherine Knight Steele, a communications professor at the University of Maryland and the author of “Digital Black Feminism. “This points to the way that mis- and disinformation, and misogynoir, is trafficked because of its profitability, even in the Black community. It’s profitable for these sites to traffic in the most vile stereotypes about Black women.”
Bloggers and podcasters have also run with theories that Meg wasn't actually shot, citing a police report that was written before doctors discovered bullet fragments in her feet during surgery.
“On my end, everything is not going to be something that was intended to be a factual statement,” said Milagro Gramz, a hip-hop news commentator who shared the preliminary police report, told NBC. “It might have a comedic effect.”
Alex Spiro, one of Meg's lawyers, said he was “exploring all legal options” against bloggers who have shared misinformation. The rapper also previously condemned the commentary on social media, saying: “It might be funny to y’all on the internet and just another messy topic for you to talk about but this is my real life and I’m real life hurt and traumatized.”
Steele noted that many gossip blogs and social media accounts prioritize shock value over factual information.
“Whatever can garner the most controversy can go the most viral,” Steele said. “It’s profitable because being anti-Black woman, using Black women as scapegoats or villains, works for a variety of audiences, white audiences, Black men audiences and, most, unfortunately, in spaces where Black women use misogynoir to distance themselves from the negative implications of being associated with other Black women.”