Entertainment

Gina Rodriguez To Speak At Black History Month Event? Apparent Fake Press Release Sets Off Social Media Firestorm

There seems to be yet another controversy that has found Gina Rodriguez being slammed on Twitter. However, the actress is the victim of a viral hoax created to anger people and cause injury to Rodriguez’s reputation. On Sunday evening, a fake press release was seen circulating on social media that apparently had the 35-year-old actress speaking on behalf of Black History Month. The false press release allegedly came from the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Black History Month Committee and was originally tweeted out by journalist Yashar Ali, who was invited to cover the event.  

The odd press release set off a firestorm of criticism and confusion about how Rodriguez, who has previously found herself in hot water due to questionable comments on race, could be featured at an event focused on Black History Month. Again, the press release is false and the anger towards Rodriguez is misdirected.

Twitter was in disbelief about a false press release that stated Rodriguez, who hasn’t had the best history when it comes to comments about to Black community, would “take selfies with African American students.” 

The entire press release was odd altogether as it read that Rodriguez would “take selfies with African American students.” “Starting in 2020, the LAUSD will invite celebrities into classrooms to speak to students during this historic month. We thought that Ms. Rodriguez, who has both African and Latina ancestry, would be a great inaugural speaker,” the press release reads.

Twitter users reacted to the press release as if it was real and the attacks on Rodriguez began without users doing their own due diligence and researching the matter.

While there was no date attached to the press release or any mention of a Black History Month event on the LAUSD website or its calendar, the school district did acknowledge the month last year. The screenshot of the press release spread quickly on Twitter and by Monday morning there was still no statement or confirmation from LAUSD of its legitimacy. 

This isn’t the first time Rodriguez has been connected with controversy. In the last few years, she has made questionable comments about the Black community that has raised some eyebrows. This may be why so many people assumed the press release could have been real. 

The validity of the press release didn’t stop people from chiming in on what seemed to be another one of Rodriguez’s tone-deaf comments. She has previously made statements that her dad is “Afro-Latino,” which also raised some eyebrows. Social media users in return posted images that showed otherwise. 

Just last year, she faced some blowback after she posted an Instagram story in which she used the n-word while rapping along with the Fugees’ song “Ready or Not”. While the “Jane the Virgin” star apologized in a follow-up post, many dismissed as insincere. Many social media users used the incident as concrete evidence that Rodriguez has a less-than-respectful attitude toward black people. 

That incident followed another controversial moment from a 2018 panel discussion on pay equity where Rodriguez was criticized for comments that many perceived as anti-Black. She spoke about the pay gaps among women of different races, saying that Latina women made less than white and Black women, on average.

“I get so petrified in this space talking about equal pay especially when you look at the intersectional aspect of it, right? Where white women get paid more than Black women, Black women get paid more than Asian women, Asian women get paid more than Latina women, and it’s like a very scary space to step into,” she said. “Because I always feel like I fail when I speak about it because I can’t help but feel already so gracious to do what I do and I feel like, culturally, I feel like I was raised to just feel so appreciative of getting here.”

The Twitter account for the LAUSD Black History Month Committee has since deleted its tweet and its entire account. Yashar Ali, who originally shared the press release, also deleted her tweet. There has been no explanation of why from either side so far.

The apparent fake press release had social media users putting in their two cents on the issue despite knowing its validity. Public figure Jemele Hill chimed in on the press release as well simply saying “Make it make sense, y’all,” 

“Instead of giving Black women this space, you give it to Gina Rodriguez? The same Gina Rodriguez who has made it a point to discredit every experience a Black woman has spoken about? LAUSD, Fix this decision, Expeditiously.” another Twitter user wrote. 

While mitú has reached out to LAUSD, there has been no response yet verifying if there was ever going to be a Black History Month event featuring Rodriguez. It’s safe to say, from the reaction on social media, it might not be a good idea anyway. 

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