HOAX: Democratic Mayoral Candidate Arrested for Hoaxing Her Own Kidnapping, Beating in Publicity Stunt
A South Carolina woman has been arrested and charged with staging her own kidnapping and beating with the hopes of attracting support for her campaign for mayor of Sumter, South Carolina. Sabrina Belcher is running for mayor of the city as a Democrat.
Belcher broadcast her own faux kidnapping in a Facebook live stream, in a performance that can only be described as comical.
Here is part of the now-deleted Facebook live video police say was a fake kidnapping stunt to garner sympathy votes. Sabrina Princess Belcher campaigned to be the "first black female mayor" for Sumter, S.C. #HateHoax pic.twitter.com/UUM121q8UZ
— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) August 21, 2020
Belcher has been charged with conspiracy and filing a false police report. One of Belcher’s associates, Christopher Eaddy, has also been charged with assisting her in staging the hoax.
Police are alleging that the entire plot was concocted from the beginning as a campaign stunt to gain sympathy and boost Belcher’s electoral prospects.
“This was simply an effort to create disorder and discontent in our community for personal gain,” said Chief Russell Roark in a press release. “As a result, a valuable number of resources, including personnel, man hours of the police department as well as local medical professionals, were wasted based on false information.”
It’s unclear if this event fits the definition of a straightforward hate hoax akin to the hoax perpetrated by Jussie Smollett, as false accusations of racism didn’t seem to be a part of the fake kidnapping plot. However, Belcher did stage her own political persecution in an attempt to promote herself, and police communications regarding the arrest indicate that Belcher had been trying to smear other candidates running for mayor as a part of the stunt.