fake hate crimes: a database of hate crime hoaxes in the usa

The purpose of this site is to compile a comprehensive database of the false reports of "hate crimes" committed (mostly) in the USA. It builds on the work of Laird Wilcox, whose Crying Wolf (PDF) is the original book on this subject. The books Hate Crime Hoax and Hate Crimes: Criminal Law & Identity Politics are recommended, as are the websites Watching the Watchdogs and Fake Hate Map.

Report 397.

Articles/programs Details
557. The Mysterious Case of Althea Bernstein / A woman claims to have been assaulted with cigarette lighters by 'frat boys' in Madison Wisconsin. There was a Black Lives Matter protest going on there at the time. / 2020-07-30
563. Federal investigators say there is insufficient evidence of alleged hate crime in Althea Bernstein case / Madison's Acting Police Chief Vic Wahl and Bernstein's family released statements about the case, with Wahl saying MPD would be closing it. "The Madison Police Department is closing the investigati
Type of hoax: suspected


Madison WI

Althea Bernstein says that one of the boys “threw a lit lighter” at her to ignite the fluid. Since disposable butane lighters go out when released, one must assume that this lighter must have been of an old-time Zippo-like design. The cheapest Zippo lighters on Amazon.com retail for $16.95 and tend to pick up the user’s fingerprints, making them both rather pricey and incriminating to be thrown away in an arson attack. No lighter was found in Bernstein’s vehicle.