In the aftermath of the mass shooting that killed nine in Charleston, S.C., the Confederate battle flag has come under fire as a symbol of shooter Dylann Roof’s racist ideology. And what’s better than taking down a racist symbol? How about one of the richest, most prominent black couples in America buying the rights to the flag so one can ever use it again?
Multiple news outlets—including Complex, the tabloid Metro, and U.K. fashion mag Dazed— reported that Jay Z and Beyoncé, American royalty, are considering spending $280 million to keep the Confederate battle flag off of apparel and other merchandise. But it’s total bullshit, and based on a story from fake news site Newswatch33.
“If my clients are successful, purchasing the rights would mean anyone who wants to produce merchandise using the Confederate flag would have to get permission from Mr and Mrs Carter,” a fake lawyer for Jay and Bey named Ralph Hammerstein did not, in reality, tell Newswatch33.
The most successful fake stories have some ring of truth to them, and a hip-hop artist trying to reclaim the Confederate flag isn’t that crazy. Kanye did it on his Yeezus tour, tying the symbol of slavery into his track “New Slaves” and using it on merch.
“I took the Confederate flag and made it my flag. It’s my flag now,” Yeezy said at the time.
But Jay Z and Beyoncé couldn’t legally make it their flag even if they wanted to. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office prohibits trademarking a flag or simulation of a flag, and allows the use of flags that have been stylized, obscured, or otherwise significantly changed. Even if someone could trademark the flag itself, it wouldn’t prevent variations from being used on ugly t-shirts.
[Photo: AP Images]