Sam Hyde is a YouTube comedian who is involved in Million Dollar Exchange.
He’s many things, depending on who you ask (namely 4chan’s /pol/ imageboard). But he’s not a mass shooter, and he’s not a cop.
On Tuesday night, users (most likely from /pol/) were spreading rumors and pictures of Hyde, who is from Massachusetts, on Twitter en masse following the shooting death of Alton Sterling in Louisiana. Another hoax that was being spread simultaneously was that Robert Kinnison, a name that also pops up each time there’s a mass shooting or an incident, was the officer involved in the shooting.
@Pzfeeed OMG people, this “Sam Hyde” has been named as a shooter in almost every recent incident: pic.twitter.com/ZRSu7PI3Ey
— *Triquetra331* (@Triquetra331) February 21, 2016
On /pol/, there was a thread going about how users were spreading memes and hoaxes via Twitter about Kinnison and Hyde being the police officer seen in the video. Screenshots were being shared by users of tweets by people who were apparently duped by the hoax (some of the hoaxes said that Hyde is a Donald Trump supporter, a Christian, and/or is a member of the Ku Klux Klan.)
“Remind me why we always use Sam Hyde as a bait?” wrote one person in the /pol/ thread on Tuesday night-early Wednesday morning. “Bait” is an old Internet slang term for a comment or action online used to provoke others into an emotional reaction.
However, when one does a simple search on Twitter or Google for “Sam Hyde,” one would find a lengthy writeup from Forbes in June that debunks the “Sam Hyde is the shooter” meme. “Internet pranksters typically describe Hyde as a KKK member, a Donald Trump supporter, a school shooter, part of GamerGate, and general web terrorist of the conservative right. Sometimes though, he is said to be a brony or a Bernie Bro,” the article says.
Hyde issued a statement to Forbes last month, saying “My wife’s boyfriend (open relationship) heard it from the news first and so he and my wife’s son were both scared silly for a few days before everything was explained. I also got a call from my rabbi frantically trying to talk me out of doing anything more violent until finally I managed to explain to him that it was a hoax.”
Hyde’s statement is sarcastic and plays on typical 4chan tropes, Forbes noted.
In March, it was reported by Deadline.com that Hyde’ s Million Dollar Extreme would get a series on Adult Swim, called “Million Dollar Extreme Presents: World Peace.”
If you’re not convinced, here’s Hyde’s YouTube channel (warning: contains offensive and profane content).
Sterling, 37, was shot outside a Baton Rouge, Louisiana, store on early Tuesday. A witness captured the now-viral video of an officer—who has not been named—holding his gun from his body before opening fire.
“He’s got a gun,” one of the officers shouted while pinning Sterling to the ground, the Advocate reported. After that, a flash from the officer’s weapon can be seen, along with the sound of gunfire.
“They shot him?” a man’s voice is heard off-camera. “Yes!” a crying woman replies.