Friday, December 03, 2004

Tommy Hilfiger 'Racist' Rumor Is Fashionable Again

Netlore Archive: False rumors alleging that fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger made racist statements on Oprah Winfrey's show are circulating (again) by email

A whole lot of nice, earnest folks who surely don't consider themselves liars are using the Internet to spread a false and libelous rumor about fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger.

It comes to them in the form of a forwarded email message. They read it, they either believe it to be true or don't care if it's true, and they pass it on to friends, associates and people they hardly even know with the click of a mouse button.

Knowingly or not, each one of these people thus becomes a link in a growing chain of lies.

Check Urban Legends for the whole debunking.

And next time, before forwarding such malicious emails, look it up. It takes all of two minutes to find the answers. Try it youself. Go to Google and do a search on the keywords "hilfiger racist."

If you're among the truly diligent, you'll eventually come across the best resource of all, and certainly the one those "in the know" would have checked out first: the Urban Legends Reference Pages.

Type "hilfiger" into the handy search box there and you'll be treated to "Tommy Rot," Barbara Mikkelson's well-researched article debunking the pernicious rumor. She explains how essentially the same story haunted designer Liz Claiborne for many years before it became attached to Tommy Hilfiger. You'll come away with a bit of historical perspective, and the truth.

You might also consider visiting Oprah Winfrey's own site to see what she has to say. Turns out she did a special segment during her January 11, 1999 show specifically to put this lie to rest. "Mr. Hilfiger has never appeared on the show," reads the synopsis. "In fact, Oprah has never even met him."

Lastly, to find out what Mr. Hilfiger himself has to say about all this, why not visit the Tommy Hilfiger Website and look for his official statement? It's all right there in black and white.

In closing, friends, let me remind you that there's a point to all this apart from the plain fact that the Hilfiger rumor is false. The point is that a lie is a lie, whether you say it with your mouth or send it in an email. The point is that you needn't bear false witness against your neighbor when the truth is only a few clicks away.

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