- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Actor Chris Pratt saw a wave of support on social media Wednesday after Yahoo U.K. curiously highlighted a handful of tweets that characterized his Gadsden flag T-shirt as racist.

Yahoo Movies U.K. was widely panned for relying on six tweets from obscure Twitter accounts for a piece originally titled, “Chris Pratt criticised for ‘white supremacist’ T-shirt.”

Mr. Pratt, who has faced scrutiny in the past for his Christian beliefs, was recently photographed wearing a shirt that showed the American flag and a coiled snake superimposed on it and a message underneath that read, “Don’t Tread On Me.”

The Yahoo story noted that while the symbol associated with the American Revolution-era Gadsden flag has a non-racial history, it has since been adopted by political groups like the tea party and some Libertarian groups.

“It has therefore also become a symbol of more conservative and far right individuals,” Yahoo claimed.

The article sparked a wave of criticism from voices on both sides of the political aisle, including The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake who said the article “did us all a disservice.”

“And the whole thing is completely counterproductive when it comes to the debate we’re having right now,” Mr. Blake wrote. “It makes the media look rabid for this controversy and for more symbols to associate with racism. It allows defenders of Trump’s racist tweets to point to the Yahoo story and say: ‘See, look how out of touch these people are! They see racism everywhere.’ “

Conservative radio host Erick Erickson wrote a piece Wednesday saying the shirt is just another excuse for the Christian-bashing left to use Mr. Pratt as an easy target.

“These same people have been nursing long held grievances against Chris Pratt for being an open and practicing Christian,” Mr. Erickson wrote. “Now they get to attack him on both fronts. It’s not that they really believe it. It’s just that they need to make an example of someone and the actor who talks about Jesus and loves America is the perfect target for them.”

The Yahoo article was later renamed, “Chris Pratt criticised for T-shirt choice,” and an editor’s note now informs the reader that “references to white supemacism” had been removed. Three of the six Twitter users cited in the story also appear to have deleted their tweets raising concerns, The Washington Post noted.

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.