Neither Robert Kinnison Nor Sam Hyde Killed Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana


If you believed everything you read on the internet, you'd think Robert Kinnison is the officer responsible for killing Baton Rouge, Louisiana, resident Alton Sterling.

Or, more likely, you might think it's Sam Hyde.

You'd also think Hyde were responsible for Sandy Hook, the Aurora Massacre and the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, along with every other terrible mass murder in the past few years.

This is all nonsense, of course — Sam Hyde's never killed anyone. He's a comedian. But the internet's most nefarious trolls want you to believe he's a killer.

Sam Hyde is a small-time online sketch comic who's been making YouTube videos for almost a decade with a comedy group called Million Dollar Extreme. He's most notorious for giving a satirical TED Talk about what the future would be like in 2070.

But sometime around late 2013, Sam Hyde became famous to the most notorious group of trolls online: 4chan, a message board called the "dark heart of the internet."

4chan is an ephemeral online board for various internet hate mobs, propagator of countless pranks and largely credited with the birth of Gamergate and Anonymous. This is the same crew that photoshopped a Koran into the hands of Sikh man Veerender Jubbal to blame him for the Paris shootings.

The burgeoning white nationalist alt-right movement is often described as the spilling out of chan culture into the mainstream.

It's unclear how 4chan first became interested in Hyde, but every time there's a mass murder, the trolls take to social media to peg Sam Hyde as the killer.

Hyde's name pops up almost any time there's a gunman incident. The slanderers alter images of Hyde to suit the cause — if it's a hate crime, he becomes a racist. If it's a rampage, he becomes a deranged loner. Because of Hyde's sketch comedy, there's no shortage of absurd photos of him.

Mic reached out to Hyde, who because of harassment would only speak to us on a conference line, and told us ahead of time he was recording. He answered all questions with either yes/no statements without any embellishment, and said he has no recollection of when the harassment began.

Usually, the only people who take the bait are Twitter users combing through hashtags and reacting instantly:

The alt-right, just like mass shootings in the U.S., probably won't go away anytime soon — so we likely haven't seen the last of Sam Hyde. Just remember to check your sources.

July 6, 2016, 2:21 p.m.: This story has been updated.

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