All Fuquay-Varina wants for Christmas is to be done with an online hoax about the town’s supposedly phallic decorations.
An image circulating on social media – a candle and two strategically placed ornaments, plus some holiday foliage – has led many to think the town mistakenly chose a naughty theme for its Christmas lights this year.
It’s also a fake. Fuquay-Varina’s lights around downtown are varied, showing stars, angels or Santa Claus. There are no suggestive lights in the mix.
But that hasn’t stopped a number of people from posting the picture all over the Internet. “American Idol” star and former congressional candidate Clay Aiken, a Raleigh native, was one of those who fell for the hoax.
“Dear #Fuquay - I need you to do better with your holiday decorations! Stat!” he wrote.
Wake County Commissioner John Burns stood up for the town’s reputation, tweeting almost immediately at Aiken, “Not Fuquay.”
Aiken’s post is still online. And while he’s probably the biggest name to share the photo, he’s far from the only one.
The hub-bub has been enough to get town officials involved.
Susan Weis, the town’s spokeswoman, said she had seen a few people posting about it on social media but was hoping it would blow over. Then her son texted her that Aiken had joined in, Weis said, and the town couldn’t remain silent anymore.
The town’s official Twitter and Facebook pages posted pictures of the town’s real lights with the note, “Whoever posted the fake photos of Fuquay-Varina’s Christmas lights is on Santa’s naughty list!”
The candle photo hoax has hit other towns this year, as well as in 2014. A cursory Internet search shows the image has been attributed to cities all over the United States, the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Doran: 919-460-2604; Twitter: @will_doran