17:24 GMT14 August 2020
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    An American woman who claimed to have been ostracized by her family due to her support for Donald Trump allegedly garnered as much as US$150,000 in donations from sympathetic US Republicans - but has now admitted it was a scam all along.

    Tweeting under the handle @Chckpeas, the nameless ‘Reformed Republican' posted a photo of herself in a ‘Make America Great Again' bucket hat, saying she refused to "hide" her affinities for the Republican party — and President Trump — any longer, and adding a ‘BlacksforTrump' hashtag.

    The October 27 post quickly went viral on the social network, accruing over 8,300 retweets, 23,000 likes and almost 2,000 comments (as of November 5) — some fellow users were highly supportive, others extremely condemnatory.

    A mere four days later, ‘Reformed Republican' claimed her ‘coming out' tweet had prompted her parents to cut her off financially, meaning she could no longer fund her college tuition — and she asked her supporters to donate to a ‘GoFundMe' page (since deleted).

    Not long afterwards, she tweeted claiming she'd raised over US$150,000 — and the entire saga was in fact a massive scam to "steal" from Republicans.

    The revelation predictably prompted outrage — but also support — from users.

    However, not all were convinced the stunt was real, and cast doubts over whether she in fact raised any money at all — she may have still been ‘trolling' tweeters after all.

    However, not all were convinced the stunt was real, and cast doubts over whether she in fact raised any money at all — she may have still been ‘trolling' tweeters after all.

    Past Precedents

    Whatever the truth of the matter, politically-charged scams — whether pursued for financial gain or otherwise — are seemingly an increasingly common occurrence in the US.  

    In December 2016, a Muslim teenager claimed she'd been racially abused by three drunk Trump supporters on a Manhattan subway train, who'd attempted to remove her hijab on her way home from college. Days after she reported the crime however, she admitted she'd concocted the story to avoid being punished for staying out late drinking with her friends. Her devout parents made her shave her head as punishment.

    In November 2017, racist slurs were painted on a car near Kansas State University campus — only for it to be revealed a week later it was the car's owner who'd painted them.

    "The whole situation got out of hand when it shouldn't have even started. It was just a Halloween prank that got out of hand. I wish I could go back to that night but I can't. I just want to apologize from the bottom of my heart for the pain and news I have brought," he said in his defence.

    In July this year, a Texan waiter was fired after he forged a receipt scrawled with a racist note, which was widely shared on social media. Khalil Cavil, who worked at steak house in the city of Odessa, wrote ‘we don't tip terrorist' on a receipt, with an arrow pointing to his name, and posted it on Facebook — he stated the receipt made him "sick to [his] stomach" and wanted "people to understand racism and hatred still exists".

    The story was covered by many mainstream outlets, the alleged customers in question were banned from the establishment and several people donated money to the alleged race-hate victim — but it was soon revealed Khalil had made the whole thing up.

    "I did write it. I don't have an explanation. I made a mistake. There is no excuse for what I did," he said. 


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