Lashing out at Bubba Wallace, right-wing media claim NASCAR noose incident is a “hoax”

Earlier this week, it was reported that a noose had been found in the garage stall of Bubba Wallace, NASCAR’s sole Black driver. The incident prompted immediate outrage and concern, leading to an FBI investigation. After the FBI initially concluded that the incident was a misunderstanding, right-wing media pounced on the story, attacking Wallace and arguing that the incident is a “hoax” and evidence that hate crimes and racism are rare.

The FBI concluded that the noose was ultimately a garage pull that had been placed there in 2019, before Wallace’s team moved in. On Thursday, NASCAR released findings from its own investigation, including a photo of the noose for the first time.

The picture displays an image of what can only be described as rope tied into a noose. The investigation also concluded that out of 1,684 garage stalls at 29 speedways, only 11 had garage pulls with knot ties, and only Wallace’s garage had a pull fashioned in the shape of a noose.

It is still unclear how the noose got in the stall and the intentions behind it, but it is not difficult to understand why a Black man, particularly in a sport with a racist history, would be concerned over an apparent noose that appeared in only his stall.

Still, the FBI’s conclusions prompted right-wing media to immediately claim a twisted sort of vindication, accusing Wallace of perpetuating a “hoax” and pointing to the incident as evidence that racism and hate crimes are far more scarce than media say. Some in conservative media also mocked NASCAR’s initial video statement of solidarity with Wallace, which featured drivers and crew members pushing his car around the track before a race. Others attacked initial support for Wallace’s story and media reports of the incident.

Some have also compared the incident to what happened in 2019 with actor Jussie Smollett, who is facing multiple criminal charges after his claims to be the victim of a hate crime turned out to be staged. Since then, right-wing media have cited Smollett’s case as evidence that hate crimes rarely occur.

Here are some ways that right-wing media have sought to discredit and attack Wallace:

Arguing that the noose “hoax” is evidence that racism and hate crimes are scarce

  • Fox host Tucker Carlson said that the noose “turned out to be what almost every other recent noose turned out to be: not a noose at all.” Carlson’s guest Deroy Murdock agreed that “time and time and time again, these awful, terrible, racist stories turn out to be completely flimsy or phony or totally nonexistent.”
  • The Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh:
  • Fox Nation host Tomi Lahren tweeted, “If racism is so outta control and rampant in this country...why does the Left keep needing to create it where it doesn’t exist?”
  • Conservative commentator Jesse Kelly mocked the idea of a noose being found, tweeting: “Be serious.” 
  • Kelly also tweeted: “If we have this many people in our country pushing race hoaxes, maybe it’s time we address how much we’ve incentivized being a ‘victim’ of racism?”
  • Right-wing commentator Stephen L. Miller asked, “Does it ever turn out to actually be a noose?”
  • Right-wing podcaster and Turning Point USA contributor Graham Allen tweeted that NASCAR “and the entire ‘woke’ culture wants Americans to believe it is a Racist Country.... IT’S NOT!!”
  • In response to the Wallace incident, The Daily Caller published an article titled “Here’s A List Of Fake Hate Crimes Involving Nooses.”

Mocking NASCAR’s statement of solidarity with Wallace

  • Conservative author Dinesh D’Souza mocked NASCAR’s solidarity statement and asserted that “it’s all over a cord used to open a garage.”
  • The Daily Wire’s Michael Knowles tweeted that the “noose was a hoax” and mocked NASCAR’s video statement of solidarity with Wallace.

Comparing the incident to what happened with Smollett

  • Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk compared the incident to what happened with Smollett, saying that “the Bubba Wallace noose story was another media hoax.” 
  • Turning Point USA’s Benny Johnson claimed that Wallace is “the Jussie Smollett of NASCAR.”
  • D’Souza tweeted that Wallace staged the noose in order to gain attention and dubbed him “Bubba Smollett.”

Attacking initial support for Wallace and media coverage of the incident

  • Fox host Laura Ingraham complained, “So many people rushed to proclaim and tweet about this before an investigation [was] done, despite similar past allegations that had also turned out to be false.” Ingraham continued, calling the incident “a virtue-signaling spiral once again.”
  • On her Fox show, Ingraham attacked members of the media who took the story seriously, asking, “When did the sports media become this way and why did they think they had to?” Her guest Burgess Owens said, “This is what the leftists do,” and added that “these are Marxists.” Her other guest, Niger Innis, accused “instigators in the media” of being “desperate to promote racism in a country that has overwhelmingly evolved on the issue of race.”
  • Right-wing commentator Buck Sexton attacked initial media reports of what happened and called journalists “cowards” and “very dumb.”
  • Right-wing radio host Clay Travis tweeted that the incident “should be yet another wake up call for the far left wing sports media, which is so desperate for awful things to happen they stop & ask no questions any time there’s a report of bad things happening.”
  • Conservative YouTuber Steven Crowder falsely claimed that the FBI confirmed the incident to be a “flat-out hoax” and called for “accountability” for “the journalists who peddled this.”
  • The Federalist co-founder Sean Davis:
  • Fox News host Greg Gutfeld claimed that “for the media, evidence of racism is a good thing, even if it’s not real.” Fox Business host Dagen McDowell accused NASCAR of staging the incident for attention, saying that the “hate crime investigation, it dovetails really nicely with their recent PR push.”
  • Carlson accused the media of wanting to “crush” and “demean” NASCAR fans because they are stereotypically conservative, comparing their coverage to “Radio Rwanda.”