This is a long and twisted tale of how the rush to report uninvestigated charges of racial harassment in one upscale suburban neighborhood led to death threats in another upscale suburban North Carolina neighborhood and country club district, compounded by the knowingly incorrect report by WRAL in North Carolina, that the FBI was investigating a Civil Rights case in the area.
What was originally reported by WRAL to have unfolded in a neighborhood called Wakefield Estates was later misidentified by WRAL Reporter, Sloan Heffernan on her Facebook page, when a widely circulated post about a racial incident they were pushing, happened in Wakefield Plantation triggering immediate loud screams of injustice and racism about the use of “plantation”, like a bombastic article in The Root, and from numerous high profile social media influencers, that led to people posting death threats online.
The Root Article refuses to admit their error or WRAL’s error, first using the word “Plantation, and they changing it to Estates”, yet the comments to the article, in their own comment section, reflect the hostility to the story over the original report of neighborhood’s being a “plantation”.
This is the original Twitter post:
On TV: 'Keep this area upscale,' warns letter to interracial Raleigh family. Sloane Heffernan has shocked reactions from neighbors at 5. https://t.co/0J6dWVvRpo
— WRAL NEWS in NC (@WRAL) July 6, 2020
THE FACEBOOK POST WAS CHANGED:
(The original post said Wakefield Plantation, and just “woman” instead of “White woman” see Edit report)
In this Facebook post, Heffernan refers to an alleged racial incident of someone receiving a letter about a BLM sign in their yard. DJHJ Media contacted the Wake Co Sherriff’s office to ask if this incident is being investigated, and they did not return our call in 5 days. It is unclear if anyone has yet to investigate this letter at all.
A white woman married to a black man received this letter at their home in Wakefield Estates. The family and neighbors reaction tonight at 5pm, only on WRAL TV.
Immediately calls for actions against the Wakefield Plantation residents and their private property were started by major social media influencers on Twitter.
A few examples:
Get in, we’re going to burn down every house in Wakefield Plantation except for Lori’s https://t.co/FlBcKjVbB6
— Mark Connor (@SharkConnor) July 7, 2020
No problem. Wakefield Plantation has already received threats of burning homes due to the news not verifying their information.
— Christie Woodard (@cwoo2321) July 11, 2020
Right around the corner from me. At this point it must be stated the uniqueness of the petit-Bourgeois in America and its ties to racism and in particular their “resonance” with the bourgeois class in general. Meaning they will require unique solutions possibly guillotine related pic.twitter.com/N65z7XvmYK
— ☭ Local Bloomberg Axe-Murderer ☭ (@GramsciGallo) July 7, 2020
1) you should live wherever you want
2) you move to an all-white neighborhood called Wakefield Plantation then you can’t be that surprised that you were gonna be met with this kinda energy https://t.co/EyApRBhTda
— Lysol In E Flat (@GeeDee215) July 7, 2020
ANOTHER CORONA VIRUS CASUALTY! Sorry for your loss. How about investigating SLOAN HEFFERNAN and her lies about the WAKEFIELD PLANTATION Letter to a black family that just moved there? Why no investigation there to a reporter making up a story? changed name of development! https://t.co/wr7alR4oEw
— Stephen (@569Hapd) July 10, 2020
We have. One of my colleagues handled it. Thanks for sharing, friend! https://t.co/ovzf27t5jt
— Aaron Thomas (@WRALAaron) July 6, 2020
I’m actually quiet disgusted but not surprised by the actions of some of the residents at Wakefield Plantation. First of all, y’all preach freedom of speech and expression, but only when what’s being said benefits you. Secondly, this neighborhood is not
— Xochilt✨??ACAB??✨ (@cocainacoochie) July 7, 2020
To complicate matters, Heffernan and a government worker used social media to promote a BLM protest. Wake County Housing Authority, Director Lorena McDowell, seized the opportunity to organize a “Wakefield Black Lives Matter March and Solidary Drive”, in the neighborhood over the letter, that was still uninvestigated.
Heffernan promoted the March and later removed the post and McDowell later changed the theme of the protest march to something about Unity. That protest march was on again and off again for two weeks, finally, being held Friday night in Wakefield Estates (see below).
This is Heffernan promoting the original BLM march:
Here you see McDowell as an organizer:
Heffernan was alerted to the error in her Facebook post that she had misidentified the neighborhoods, misusing the word “Plantation”, however, according to the edit report on the post, she left the inaccurate information up identifying a racial incident happening in the wrong neighborhood and leaving two days for hatred toward Wakefield Plantation to fester, and possibly to drive attendance for the BLM protest.
During that time period, a number of Black Radio stations carried the story of Wakefield Plantation and activists writers with larger audiences to circulated stories to social media influencers, to further spread the story.
Leading to numerous petitions involving a neighborhood who did nothing at all to be on the radar of social justice warriors.
— Pauline Brown (@ppbrownb2009) July 12, 2020
By the time people understood the mistake, they had been triggered by the word “Plantation” and didn’t care about the difference.
The two neighborhoods had been tied together. The BLM march called for a “march through Wakefield Plantation and a dive through Wakefield Estates”.
Yes good ole Wakefield Plantation off Falls of the Neuse
— Drill Sergeant Gooch (@dsgooch40) July 7, 2020
Not that it really changes things, but the news outlet updated their story to say it happened in Wakefield Estates, which is next to Wakefield Plantation. Still, holy shithttps://t.co/eoP94BsGNs
— james conroy (@jamesconroy) July 7, 2020
WRAL finally ran a retraction admitting they had misidentified the location where the letter to someone named “Lori” had been received after days of misinformation and calls from concerned residents from Wakefield Plantation to fix their mistake.
In that report, meant to be a retraction, WRAL added that the “Sherriff’s department had informed them the FBI was investigating for a possible Civil Rights Case”.
DJHJ Media contacted the FBI agent in charge who denied they were investigating, and gave us the following statement:
DJHJ Media contacted Sloane Heffernan and asked if she would like to make a statement about promoting the BLM march in the wrong neighborhood or about the inaccurate statements about an FBI investigation and she declined, referring us back to the WRAL report, in question, saying the FBI was investigating.
Listen to WRAL finally admit they were wrong, and add Fake News about an FBI investigation:
YOU GUYS ARE AMAZING! We want to say how proud we are of the residents of Wakefield Plantation (and everyone here) for standing up to the media/government complex that tried to agitate and stir up violence in their neighborhood. WRAL broadcast this video which absolves Wakefield Plantation of responsibility for the racist note. You have to fight back against this stuff. Also, it is fantastic news that the FBI is here. The cavalry has arrived ya'll! It is our opinion that the "racist letter" is a hoax and we have full confidence that the FBI will get to the bottom of this. And even if there is a racist in Wakefield Estates then we should all celebrate when they are found out. We at Free Wake stand 100% against actual racism but we stand equally firm against FAKE racism and hoaxes.In the world we live in today, accusations of racism can lead directly to violence, riots, and bloodshed. So we will always take these accusations very seriously. And we assure you that the FBI takes them very seriously. Remember: YOU did this. It was YOUR efforts that led to the WRAL retraction, YOUR efforts that pressured the Wake County government leaders to cancel their "March on Wakefield", YOUR efforts that alerted the FBI to this situation. You guys owe yourselves a giant pat on the back. Please pray for each other, pray for us, and pray that the FBI is able to bring justice to whoever it is that is responsible for this.
Posted by Free Wake County on Saturday, July 11, 2020
After numerous edits and revisions to a planned march, a group was finally identified who was able to organize a protest march in Suburban NC in Wakefield Estates, where protestors closed down streets in response to the “racist letter” to “Lori”.
INFO NEEDED TO PARTICIPATE: The first 100 people to dm us will participate in a public demonstration (cap is for security and effectiveness) This action requires a commitment to attend a civil disobedience training on Friday (the day before) at 3:30pm—before the Wakefield March pic.twitter.com/Ra0ZDpCb0X
— NC BORN (@NCBORN_) July 16, 2020
Here is the BLM March in the suburbs:
The anonymous letter was sent to a family in Wakefield Estates, near Wake Forest.https://t.co/1yC10taz8y
— CBS 17 (@WNCN) July 18, 2020
Marching Through Suburbs, no cares at all that they are driven by fake news.
The People are protesting in response to the racist Wakefield Plantation letter. They’ve taken Old Falls of Neuse Rd. pic.twitter.com/4cBlhVvwmm
— Smash Racism Raleigh (@SmashRacism919) July 17, 2020
An eyewitness reported, “They were chanting “Get out of your house, get in the street” and “Defund the police”
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WRAL couldn't leave you alone. They made sure their march still went on. Rosalia Fodera subbing in for Sloane Heffernan. Terrorizing innocent people for profits.
Posted by Free Wake County on Friday, July 17, 2020
Kari is an ex-Community Organizer who writes about Voter Engagement, Cultural Marxism and Campaigns. She has been a grassroots volunteer with the GOP, on and off for 18 years. She is a Homeschool Mom in North Carolina and loves Photojournalism and Citizen Journalism. @Saorsa1776