An sheriff in southern Illinois recently confirmed that a morgue assistant’s spaghetti and meatballs at a cook-off event in Carterville were not, in fact, made with male testicles, contrary to claims from a satirical news site.
In a news release posted on Facebook, the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office assured the public that the dish didn’t have any body parts in it and said claims that the dish had male meat was “fake news.”
“The fake news was on a fake news website,” the sheriff’s office said. “The headline of this fake news website says, ‘News you can count on to let you down.’”
The article claimed that a Carterville woman who worked as a morgue’s assistant used the testes of dead men for her meatball dish in order to finally earn the competition’s top prize after years of finishing in second place.
The secret ingredient was discovered when a judge allegedly bit down on a prosthetic.
The piece was published by KVTA4, a website that describes itself as a “fabricated satirical newspaper and comedy website.” The site is designed to appear like a legitimate news site.
The article was shared on Facebook over 300,000 times, according to CrowdTangle, a tool that analyzes interactions across the social network.
Several Facebook users appeared to not understand the humor, or did not realize the article was fake.
“That may be the most disgusting thing I have ever read,” one person wrote.
“What in the actual hell is going on with people,” another said.
Because the article has also appeared on websites attempting to deceive people about the legitimacy of the news, Snopes had to label the piece a hoax.
“These kinds of satirical articles about morgues usually repurpose real-life mug shots for their fictional tales,” Snopes reporter Jordan Liles wrote.
Williamson County Sheriff Bennie Vick decided to use the piece as a cautionary tale about how misinformation is spread on social media. He said that readers can identify “fake news” by looking into sources and exploring a site’s “about” page.