‘We Like Your Food But Not Your People’: Unpacking The Myth Of Toronto's Diverse Food Scene
In January, 2014, Whole Foods launched one of their largest food campaigns to date: Collards Are The New Kale. Cashiers fastened buttons to their aprons, Whole Foods bloggers scrambled to publish collards-based recipes, and the whole produce aisle buzzed with anticipation. Kales understudy had finally ascended into the spotlight.
Have you heard the siren call of collards yet? wrote resident blogger Alana Sugar.1 Given the droves of people who swarmed the registry for Whole Foods collard cooking classes, it seems people heard the sirens loud and clear.
While Im almost certain Whole Foods didnt intend to imply that collards are a beautiful, alluring vegetable with sinister ramifications, much like the sirens of Greek mythology, that is exactly what they became. Cue: food gentrification.
Collard greens have held staple status in the diets of working class Black and white Southern Americans for centuries. Divorcing this vegetable from its roots in these communities to rebrand it for the affluent shoppers of Whole Foods caused prices to soar, rendering collards less affordable for people who relied on it for many of their dishes.
Black feminist and writer Mikki Kendall (@Karnythia) drew attention to the parallels between this food market colonialism and gentrification when she tweeted:
When we talk about #foodgentrification were talking about the impact of a traditionally low income food becoming trendy.
Now, once-affordable ingredients have been discovered by trendy chefs, and have been transformed into haute cuisine, Kendall wrote. Food is facing gentrification that may well put traditional meals out of reach for those who created the recipes.
1 I want to make a note that crediting Alana Sugar doesnt mean I intend to villainize her, because everyones just trying to make a living and working as a Whole Foods blogger doesnt mean she created the campaign. Its systematic, okay?!
I live in Toronto. By demographical standards, it is one of the most multicultural cities in the world. Of 6.1 million residents in the Greater Toronto Area, 45.7% were born outside of Canada.
When it comes to food, Toronto is a city lauded equally for the diversity of its cuisines as it is its people. But are we truly worthy of this claim? For some, Torontos food diversity is less a reflection of its diverse population than its structural inequalities.
Take local Toronto business Chaiwala Chai for example.
You may recall the term Chaiwala from 2008 movie Slumdog Millionaire. Jamal, the protagonist, is an orphaned Indian boy who works as a Chaiwala (tea server) at a call centre. When Jamal lands on Indias Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? the show host refers to Jamal as a Chaiwala several times throughout the episode. In this case, the host uses the term Chaiwala as an insult; a synonym for poor, uneducated and lesser than. Jamal is then arrested on suspicion of cheating, because surely a Chaiwala couldnt be this smart. The job of a Chaiwala is highly stigmatized, deeply entrenched in caste system culture.
Which is why Chaiwala Chai makes a particularly surprising title for the chai company in Toronto, founded by Eamon and Becca two, young white entrepreneurs. On their website, Eamon and Becca refer to themselves as Canadian Chaiwalas. They share their story, where they toured the chai drinking nations of Asia before returning home to present their perfect blend to the people of Toronto.
Chaiwala Chai supplies over 47 cafes across Toronto with masala chai, including locales such as Jimmys coffee, Wandas Pie in the Sky, The Green Beanery, and more. What does it mean that this many cafes bypassed dozens of Indian food suppliers in the GTA to source their products from two white people with enough disposable income to traipse the entire continent of Asia, two people who have no apparent connection to the culture? 2
I spoke with Chinese-Canadian writer and activist Lorraine Chuen, who recently penned the piece Food, Race, and Power: Who gets to be an authority on 'ethnic' cuisines? on her blog, Intersectional Analyst.
Im not saying white people cant eat or cook foods from other cultures, but theres a structural pattern where white people are more likely to profit from other cultures than the people from those cultures themselves.
There are countless examples of the authority that white people (primarily affluent white people) are granted in Torontos food market, especially in the media. A recent interview with Rose & Sons chef Anthony Rose on their new Chinatown Sundays menu described Roses take on Chinese food as elevated. The interviewer has since apologized for their wording, but the question remains: why dont people want to eat their Chinese food at a Chinese-owned restaurant?
When white people want to eat non-Western food but they dont want to be in the presence of other racialized people, I think thats when these specialized 'ethnic' menus by white chefs become so popular. Thats my hypothesis said Lorraine. Its white people being served by other white people, with food thats made by white people and its like, We like everything about this culture except for the people, like we just want to have the experience without any attachment. Thats what makes me uncomfortable. As usual, people of colour are left out of the story.
2 Yes, this is an assumption, but a pretty educated one based on their company name.
While Lorraine illustrates the erasure of people, history and culture, Nabeel Shakeel Ahmed, a Pakistani-Canadian who came to Toronto in 2009, fears that even the most basic essence of his cultural cuisine has gone missing taste.
When Nabeel moved to Toronto, he sought to share an important part of his culture and identity with new friends: Pakistani food.
When I think of culture, I think of three things: language, art, and food, said Nabeel. Its an integral part of culture. Food is part of identity.
Despite dozens of Pakistani restaurants in Toronto, Nabeel found that most werent doing justice to Pakistani cuisine.
I dont go out to eat food from India or Pakistan. Im not going to enjoy it because its usually a watered down version. Its hard for me to share my culture, experiences, and identity with others. Its harder for me to connect.
One driving force behind the distortion of ethnic cuisines in Toronto is commercialization.
In order to set up shop in certain high income areas, the rents are so high that only the big brands with standardized, commercial versions of foods can be there.
Small restaurants, or those without a commercial edge, flee to periphery areas for their pared down rents areas fewer people are willing to trek out to.
Big brand restaurants cater to people who have enough disposable income to eat out on a regular basis, which is mostly white people.
So, when Nabeel ventures out for Indian or Pakistani food, once-familiar cuisines have been altered to suit the palates of white customers.
To make a masala daal, I would use turmeric, red chili pepper, coriander powder, cumin, garlic, and ginger, Nabeel said. He spoke slowly, deliberately, so I could note each ingredient. In the commercial version of daal there might be something like salt, crushed red pepper, maybe some bits of ginger, and thats it.
What makes a city like Toronto great is that we have so many cultures, but ideally we want the culture as it is, not a watered down version. We want to preserve that long term.
Nabeel offered a potential solution: Ethnic food producers need more opportunities to share their food with a broader audience; to share what they feel the best version of that food is, not what they feel the audience will most respond to. That kind of diversity is really important.
I wondered if there were further benefits to cheaper dishes. Could it be plausible that some of these restaurants were interested in serving simplified versions of their cuisines just to save money? After all, less complex recipes could mean cheaper product.
I didnt have to look far for answers, because Krishnendu Ray, chair of Nutrition and Food Studies at New York University recently tackled this topic in a recent interview by Roberto A. Ferdman. According to Ray, even restaurants that want to serve authentic versions of their dishes are often unable to due to the low price ceiling imposed on many cultural cuisines in North America. Torontonians tend to regard ethnic cuisines as inferior, and expect prices to match.
Feldman writes, Despite complex ingredients and labor-intensive cooking methods that rival or even eclipse those associated with some of the most celebrated cuisines think French, Spanish and Italian we want our Indian food fast, and we want it cheap.
Businesses must make sacrifices to food quality when customers demand dishes at a fraction of their value. Especially when many of the complex spices and ingredients in ethnic foods arent as widely available as traditionally Western ingredients.
If Torontos food diversity is a reflection of its people, what does it say that restaurant goers are unwilling to value certain cuisines? What does it mean that the majority of these undervalued cuisines belong to people of colour?
Andrew and Sadi, two food lovers in Toronto, considered these power dynamics and decided to start 6ixspots: a blog that highlights human stories behind small-scale, immigrant-owned restaurants or restaurants with a transnational legacy.
As children of immigrants and avid lovers of cultural cuisines, they noticed their favourite immigrant-owned ethnic restaurants were rarely featured in Torontos media.
Its always the downtown core, mainly the West End restaurants that have a big social media presence, that get featured, Andrew said. Certain chefs are interviewed constantly. They know how to get press.
And even when cultural cuisines are highlighted in popular media, it is often a story told by someone else.
Owners arent really the owners of the stories, Sadi said.
Andrew joined in, Stories of ethnic cuisines are usually told on behalf of the the people making it. Like in the case of Matty Matheson or Anthony Bourdain. As interviewers, we try to step back and let them tell the story.
Sadi capped off our conversation: Our culture has become more about criticizing food than enjoying it. We tend to forget that there are people pouring their lives into serving us these dishes. My hope is that people can appreciate the human story behind it all.
Just this week, Tourism Toronto released its newest ad for the city a video titled The Views Are Different Here. It accentuates the vibrant, colourful landscape of Toronto, its people, and its food. It highlights inclusivity. Moments from the end, as the camera pans through Chinatown, the text on the screen reads: All flavours are welcome.
Toronto, if we want this to be true, lets put our money where our mouth is. Literally.
If you would like to learn more about food politics in Toronto or become a more critical diner, here are some places to start:
Use this article as a conversation point with friends and family
Read Lorraine Chuens experience with race, food, and power on Intersectional Analyst
Read human-centred profiles of small-scale, immigrant-owned restaurants at 6ixSpots
Listen to Racist Sandwich, a podcast on food and race politics here
Contact your favourite cafe on this list and ask them to source their chai more ethically
Going out to eat? Why not try one of the restaurants highlighted on Black Foodie or Halal Foodie.
Get excited for the opening of Nish Dish, a new Indigenous restaurant focusing on Anishinaabe recipes, as well as products from First Nations and Metis producers.
Looking to book your next caterers? Check out the Afghan Womens Catering Group.
Volunteer or Donate to Newcomer Kitchen, a project that supports Syrian refugee women in making traditional Syrian food in a fun, social setting.
Special thanks to Safah, Lorraine Chuen of Intersectional Analyst, Andrew and Sadi at 6ixSpots, Nabeel Shakeel Ahmed, Matthew Ha, Toula Nikas, Jess Shane, Dave Karrel, Robyn Simon and all the people who added to this conversation on Bunz Helping Zone and Young Urbanists League.
Reddit user Isitjustmedownhere asked: 'Give an example; how weird are you really?'
Let's get one thing straight: no one is normal. We're all weird in our own ways, and that is actually normal.
Of course, that doesn't mean we don't all have that one strange trait or quirk that outweighs all the other weirdness we possess.
For me, it's the fact that I'm almost 30 years old, and I still have an imaginary friend. Her name is Sarah, she has red hair and green eyes, and I strongly believe that, since I lived in India when I created her and there were no actual people with red hair around, she was based on Daphne Blake from Scooby-Doo.
I also didn't know the name Sarah when I created her, so that came later. I know she's not really there, hence the term 'imaginary friend,' but she's kind of always been around. We all have conversations in our heads; mine are with Sarah. She keeps me on task and efficient.
My mom thinks I'm crazy that I still have an imaginary friend, and writing about her like this makes me think I may actually be crazy, but I don't mind. As I said, we're all weird, and we all have that one trait that outweighs all the other weirdness.
Redditors know this all too well and are eager to share their weird traits.
It all started when Redditor Isitjustmedownhere asked:
"Give an example; how weird are you really?"
Monsters Under My Bed
"My bed doesn't touch any wall."
"Edit: I guess i should clarify im not rich."
"Gosh the monsters can get you from any angle then."
"At first I thought this was a flex on how big your bedroom is, but then I realized you're just a psycho 😁"
Can You See Why?
"I bought one of those super-powerful fans to dry a basement carpet. Afterwards, I realized that it can point straight up and that it would be amazing to use on myself post-shower. Now I squeegee my body with my hands, step out of the shower and get blasted by a wide jet of room-temp air. I barely use my towel at all. Wife thinks I'm weird."
"In 1990 when I was 8 years old and bored on a field trip, I saw a black Oldsmobile Cutlass driving down the street on a hot day to where you could see that mirage like distortion from the heat on the road. I took a “snapshot” by blinking my eyes and told myself “I wonder how long I can remember this image” ….well."
"Even before smartphones, I always take "snapshots" by blinking my eyes hoping I'll remember every detail so I can draw it when I get home. Unfortunately, I may have taken so much snapshots that I can no longer remember every detail I want to draw."
"Makes me think my "memory is full.""
"I have eaten the same lunch every day for the past 4 years and I'm not bored yet."
"How f**king big was this lunch when you started?"
Not Sure Who Was Weirder
"Had a line cook that worked for us for 6 months never said much. My sous chef once told him with no context, "Baw wit da baw daw bang daw bang diggy diggy." The guy smiled, left, and never came back."
"I pace around my house for hours listening to music imagining that I have done all the things I simply lack the brain capacity to do, or in some really bizarre scenarios, I can really get immersed in these imaginations sometimes I don't know if this is some form of schizophrenia or what."
"I do the same exact thing, sometimes for hours. When I was young it would be a ridiculous amount of time and many years later it’s sort of trickled off into almost nothing (almost). It’s weird but I just thought it’s how my brain processes sh*t."
"Even as an adult I still think that if you are in a car that goes over a cliff; and right as you are about to hit the ground if you jump up you can avoid the damage and will land safely. I know I'm wrong. You shut up. I'm not crying."
"As a kid I would snack on my dog's Milkbones."
"Haha, I have a clear memory of myself doing this as well. I was around 3 y/o. Needless to say no one was supervising me."
"When I was younger, one of my responsibilities was to feed the pet fish every day. Instead, I would hide under the futon in the spare bedroom and eat the fish food."
My Favorite Subject
"I'm autistic and have always had a thing for insects. My neurotypical best friend and I used to hang out at this local bar to talk to girls, back in the late 90s. One time he claimed that my tendency to circle conversations back to insects was hurting my game. The next time we went to that bar (with a few other friends), he turned and said sternly "No talking about bugs. Or space, or statistics or other bullsh*t but mainly no bugs." I felt like he was losing his mind over nothing."
"It was summer, the bar had its windows open. Our group hit it off with a group of young ladies, We were all chatting and having a good time. I was talking to one of these girls, my buddy was behind her facing away from me talking to a few other people."
"A cloudless sulphur flies in and lands on little thing that holds coasters."
"Cue Jordan Peele sweating gif."
"The girl notices my tension, and asks if I am looking at the leaf. "Actually, that's a lepidoptera called..." I looked at the back of my friend's head, he wasn't looking, "I mean a butterfly..." I poked it and it spread its wings the girl says "oh that's a BUG?!" and I still remember my friend turning around slowly to look at me with chastisement. The ONE thing he told me not to do."
"I was 21, and was completely not aware that I already had a rep for being an oddball. It got worse from there."
"I bite ice cream sometimes."
"That's how I am with popsicles. My wife shudders every single time."
Never Speak Of This
"I put ice in my milk."
"You should keep that kind of thing to yourself. Even when asked."
"There's some disturbing sh*t in this thread, but this one takes the cake."
More Than Super Hearing
"I can hear the television while it's on mute."
"What does it say to you, child?"
"I put mustard on my omelettes."
– Deleted User
"Whenever I say a word and feel like I used a half of my mouth more than the other half, I have to even it out by saying the word again using the other half of my mouth more. If I don't do it correctly, that can go on forever until I feel it's ok."
"I do it silently so I don't creep people out."
"That sounds like a symptom of OCD (I have it myself). Some people with OCD feel like certain actions have to be balanced (like counting or making sure physical movements are even). You should find a therapist who specializes in OCD, because they can help you."
I totally have the same need for things to be balanced! Guess I'm weird and a little OCD!
Experiencing death is a fascinating and frightening idea.
Who doesn't want to know what is waiting for us on the other side?
But so many of us want to know and then come back and live a little longer.
It would be so great to be sure there is something else.
But the whole dying part is not that great, so we'll have to rely on other people's accounts.
Redditor AlaskaStiletto wanted to hear from everyone who has returned to life, so they asked:
"Redditors who have 'died' and come back to life, what did you see?"
SensationsHappy Good Vibes GIF by Major League SoccerGiphy
"My dad's heart stopped when he had a heart attack and he had to be brought back to life. He kept the paper copy of the heart monitor which shows he flatlined. He said he felt an overwhelming sensation of peace, like nothing he had felt before."
"I had surgical complications in 2010 that caused a great deal of blood loss. As a result, I had extremely low blood pressure and could barely stay awake. I remember feeling like I was surrounded by loved ones who had passed. They were in a circle around me and I knew they were there to guide me onwards. I told them I was not ready to go because my kids needed me and I came back."
"My nurse later said she was afraid she’d find me dead every time she came into the room."
"It took months, and blood transfusions, but I recovered."
Take Me Back
"Overwhelming peace and happiness. A bright airy and floating feeling. I live a very stressful life. Imagine finding out the person you have had a crush on reveals they have the same feelings for you and then you win the lotto later that day - that was the feeling I had."
"I never feared death afterward and am relieved when I hear of people dying after suffering from an illness."
FreeThe Light Minnie GIF by (G)I-DLEGiphy
"I had a heart surgery with near-death experience, for me at least (well the possibility that those effects are caused by morphine is also there) I just saw black and nothing else but it was warm and I had such inner peace, its weird as I sometimes still think about it and wish this feeling of being so light and free again."
This is why I hate surgery.
You just never know.
"More of a near-death experience. I was electrocuted. I felt like I was in a deep hole looking straight up in the sky. My life flashed before me. Felt sad for my family, but I had a deep sense of peace."
"Nursing in the ICU, we’ve had people try to die on us many times during the years, some successfully. One guy stood out to me. His heart stopped. We called a code, are working on him, and suddenly he comes to. We hadn’t vented him yet, so he was able to talk, and he started screaming, 'Don’t let them take me, don’t let them take me, they are coming,' he was scared and yelling."
"Then he yelled a little more, as we tried to calm him down, he screamed, 'No, No,' and gestured towards the end of the bed, and died again. We didn’t get him back. It was seriously creepy. We called his son to tell him the news, and the son said basically, 'Good, he was an SOB.'”
"My sister died and said it was extremely peaceful. She said it was very loud like a train station and lots of talking and she was stuck in this area that was like a curtain with lots of beautiful colors (colors that you don’t see in real life according to her) a man told her 'He was sorry, but she had to go back as it wasn’t her time.'"
"I had a really similar experience except I was in an endless garden with flowers that were colors I had never seen before. It was quiet and peaceful and a woman in a dress looked at me, shook her head, and just said 'Not yet.' As I was coming back, it was extremely loud, like everyone in the world was trying to talk all at once. It was all very disorienting but it changed my perspective on life!"
"I was in a gray fog with a girl who looked a lot like a young version of my grandmother (who was still alive) but dressed like a pioneer in the 1800s she didn't say anything but kept pulling me towards an opening in the wall. I kept refusing to go because I was so tired."
"I finally got tired of her nagging and went and that's when I came to. I had bled out during a c-section and my heart could not beat without blood. They had to deliver the baby and sew up the bleeders. refill me with blood before they could restart my heart so, like, at least 12 minutes gone."
Through the Walls
"My spouse was dead for a couple of minutes one miserable night. She maintains that she saw nothing, but only heard people talking about her like through a wall. The only thing she remembers for absolute certain was begging an ER nurse that she didn't want to die."
"She's quite alive and well today."
Well let's all be happy to be alive.
It seems to be all we have.
Trying to lose weight is a struggle understood by many people regardless of size.
The goal of reaching a healthy weight may seem unattainable, but with diet and exercise, it can pay off through persistence and discipline.
Seeing the pounds gradually drop off can also be a great motivator and incentivize people to stay the course.
Those who've achieved their respective weight goals shared their experiences when Redditor apprenti8455 asked:
"People who lost a lot of weight, what surprises you the most now?"
Redditors didn't see these coming.
Shiver Me Timbers
"I’m always cold now!"
"I had a coworker lose over 130 pounds five or six years ago. I’ve never seen him without a jacket on since."
"140 lbs lost here starting just before COVID, I feel like that little old lady that's always cold, damn this top comment was on point lmao."
"I lost 100 pounds over a year and a half but since I’m old(70’s) it seems few people comment on it because (I think) they think I’m wasting away from some terminal illness."
"Congrats on the weight loss! It’s honestly a real accomplishment 🙂"
"Working in oncology, I can never comment on someone’s weight loss unless I specifically know it was on purpose, regardless of their age. I think it kind of ruffles feathers at times, but like I don’t want to congratulate someone for having cancer or something. It’s a weird place to be in."
"I remember when I lost the first big chunk of weight (around 50 lbs) it was like it gave some people license to talk sh*t about the 'old' me. Old coworkers, friends, made a lot of not just negative, but harsh comments about what I used to look like. One person I met after the big loss saw a picture of me prior and said, 'Wow, we wouldn’t even be friends!'”
"It wasn’t extremely common, but I was a little alarmed by some of the attention. My weight has been up and down since then, but every time I gain a little it gets me a little down thinking about those things people said."
Not Everything Goes After Losing Weight
"The loose skin is a bit unexpected."
"I haven’t experienced it myself, but surgery to remove skin takes a long time to recover. Longer than bariatric surgery and usually isn’t covered by insurance unless you have both."
"It definitely does take a long time to recover. My Dad dropped a little over 200 pounds a few years back and decided to go through with skin removal surgery to deal with the excess. His procedure was extensive, as in he had skin taken from just about every part of his body excluding his head, and he went through hell for weeks in recovery, and he was bedridden for a lot of it."
These Redditors shared their pleasantly surprising experiences.
"I can buy clothes in any store I want."
"When I lost weight I was dying to go find cute, smaller clothes and I really struggled. As someone who had always been restricted to one or two stores that catered to plus-sized clothing, a full mall of shops with items in my size was daunting. Too many options and not enough knowledge of brands that were good vs cheap. I usually went home pretty frustrated."
No More Symptoms
"Lost about 80 pounds in the past year and a half, biggest thing that I’ve noticed that I haven’t seen mentioned on here yet is my acid reflux and heartburn are basically gone. I used to be popping tums every couple hours and now they just sit in the medicine cabinet collecting dust."
"I'm all for not judging people by their appearance and I recognise that there are unhealthy, unachievable beauty standards, but one thing that is undeniable is that I can just do stuff now. Just stamina and flexibility alone are worth it, appearance is tertiary at best."
People Change Their Tune
"How much nicer people are to you."
"My feet weren't 'wide' they were 'fat.'"
"Have to agree. Lost 220 lbs, people make eye contact and hold open doors and stuff"
"And on the foot thing, I also lost a full shoe size numerically and also wear regular width now 😅"
It's gonna take some getting used to.
"Having bones. Collarbones, wrist bones, knee bones, hip bones, ribs. I have so many bones sticking out everywhere and it’s weird as hell."
"I noticed the shadow of my ribs the other day and it threw me, there’s a whole skeleton in here."
"Right?! And they’re so … pointy! Now I get why people sleep with pillows between their legs - the knee bones laying on top of each other (side sleeper here) is weird and jarring."
"I lost only 40 pounds within the last year or so. I’m struggling to relate to most of these comments as I feel like I just 'slimmed down' rather than dropped a ton. But wow, the pillow between the knees at night. YES! I can relate to this. I think a lot of my weight was in my thighs. I never needed to do this up until recently."
"I’ve lost 100 lbs since 2020. It’s a collection of little things that surprise me. For at least 10 years I couldn’t put on socks, or tie my shoes. I couldn’t bend over and pick something up. I couldn’t climb a ladder to fix something. Simple things like that I can do now that fascinate me."
"Edit: Some additional little things are sitting in a chair with arms, sitting in a booth in a restaurant, being able to shop in a normal store AND not needing to buy the biggest size there, being able to easily wipe my butt, and looking down and being able to see my penis."
People making significant changes, whether for mental or physical health, can surely find a newfound perspective on life.
But they can also discover different issues they never saw coming.
That being said, overcoming any challenge in life is laudable, especially if it leads to gaining confidence and ditching insecurities.
In 2017, I returned to my office after my lunch break to hear my supervisors discussing Tom Petty. This seemed like a random topic to me until one of my supervisors told me Tom Petty had passed away. He was a huge fan of Petty and spent the next hour or so combing through the internet to get more information.
He came back into the room my other supervisor and I were working in and announced that Tom Petty wasn't dead after all. News outlets had jumped the gun to announce his death, but he was actually still alive.
The next day, I came in to find out that Tom Petty was dead; the news may have been premature, but true.
This is a classic example of the rumor being started on the internet. Sometimes, like with the news of Tom Petty's death, the rumor can run wild and appear everywhere. Other times, the rumor can be seen by just a few people and dismissed. However, a lot of times, these rumors turn out to be true.
Redditors know a lot of internet rumors that turned out to be true, and are eager to share.
It all started when Redditor strakerak asked:
"What started out as an internet rumor that ended up being infamously true?"
The King Of Pop
"Michael Jackson writing the music for Sonic 3."
"He actually did, but was never credited on the game because it would breach his contract with his record label."
"He did the same when he appeared on The Simpsons. He appeared under a pseudonym, and the Producers said it was an impersonator."
"Only years later they confirmed it really was Michael."
"His singing voice was actually done by an impersonator, though."
The Truth Comes Out
"In 1998, US Men’s National Team captain John Harkes was shockingly cut from the team right before the World Cup. The coach claimed it was because Harkes wouldn’t fit into his new preferred formation, but rumors flew on the early internet that it was actually because he had slept with his teammate Eric Wynalda’s wife. The rumor was so well-known in soccer circles that Harkes expressly denied it in his autobiography the next year."
"Fast forward 12 years to 2010 and Wynalda admits it’s true. The coach then came out and admitted it was why he dropped Harkes, but that he’d planned to keep the secret as long as Wynalda did."
"The Tim Burton Hansel and Gretel that aired once on halloween in the 80's."
"I heard for years that it was fake but I knew it was real because my dad recorded everything in the 80s and he recorded that. We let a good friend of ours borrow it and switch it over from VHS to DVD and soon after that it made its way on to the internet , and there it is now. I know it's our copy because the tracking in the beginning is screwed up. Still have the VHS."
"There was a similar story with a Nickelodeon movie called Cry Baby Lane. It was supposed to be so scary that Nickelodeon got complaints and denied its existence for years. Someone uploaded a taped copy to youtube about a decade ago."
The Movie Business
"That North Korea hacked Sony Pictures because of The Interview movie."
"I worked in the movie business at the time and the account managers at Sony all basically needed to get new identities as all of their personal information got leaked online."
"My partner worked on that movie and the production bought all the crew 1 year of an identity theft tracking service."
Keep Away From The Ears Of Kids
"Some banned episodes or scenes of cartoons."
"For example, I remember there was a Dexter’s Lab cartoon where he clones evil versions of DeDe and himself and they swear like every other word (censored of course), and people debated whether it even existed cause they only aired it like once. Now it’s pretty accessible online."
Yes, It's True
"Echelon, a massive electronic espionage system by the US and allies to intercept all electronic messages, especially emails."
"In the mid-nineties it was a topic on conspiracy BBS boards. A lot of people in my bubble at the time (mainly uni students in Europe) were including fake threats to the US in the their email signatures as a way to "protest" and "fill the system with false alarms" (obviously useless)."
"Then, in 1999-2000 came out to be true and a lot of security service agencies from UK and other US allies started to admit they were part of the espionage network."
How The Mighty Fell
"John Edward’s love child."
"A reminder that he was cheating on his wife while she was hospitalized for cancer treatment."
"Carrie Fisher's heart attack. Some a**hole who was on the same flight was livetweeting the whole medical emergency and justified it by insisting she was just making sure the family was informed."
It Actually Happened
"Every year around her birthday there was a rumor that Betty White died. When I heard she died, I scoffed, saying that dumb rumor is back.... then saw it on the news. I was in shock."
"The fact that Betty died literally right before she turned 100 is such a Betty White way to go out."
Big Actor, Small Roles
"I distinctly remember some rumors about the reason why Bruce Willis was taking so many roles in sh*tty movies before it was announced he has dementia."
"RedLetterMedia did a deep dive on his recent movie activity to try and work out why exactly he was taking part in basically scam-movies. They noticed he had an earpiece in one of the scenes and joked that the director was feeding him lines. I remember they even disclaimed over the rumours at the time, and possible made a follow-up vid when it was revealed to the public."
What To Do Next?
"That the writer of LOST were making it up as they went."
"Turned out to be absolutely true."
That last one was kind of obvious!
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