ME: ERRONEOUS NATIONAL NEWS REPORT OF HATE CRIME INVESTIGATION CAUSES TURMOIL
Lewiston has once again been thrust into the national spotlight after city officals say an error-laden news report about a potential anti-Muslim hate crime migrated to national television.
According to the city, a hate crime investigation at Lewiston Middle School was parodied on an Associated Press look-alike website, complete with fake quotes from the school superintendent.
The Lewiston Sun Journal is reporting that the fake story then aired as fact on a national Fox broadcast.
The controversy stems from an incident at Lewiston Middle School in which a non-Muslim student, goaded by peers, allegedly placed a ham steak on a table where a some Muslim students were eating lunch. Pork is considered offensive to Muslims.
That's not the way the story was presented on a website known as Associated Content. The first line of that story reads: "A middle school student in Lewiston, Maine is being investigated for a hate crime after he placed a bag containing a ham sandwich on a table where Somali students eat lunch."
The article also quotes school superintendent Leon Levesque as saying "these children have got to learn that ham is not a toy and students cannot be nonchalant about where you put your sandwich."
Levesque says that statement and several others were completely fabricated.