Back in 2014, respected satirical website The Onion published a story claiming that the American state of Ohio was replacing lethal injections for death row prisoners with a more humane “head ripping off machine”.
The report noted:
Seeking a more humane method of carrying out capital punishment, Ohio’s new machine yanks inmates heads from their bodies using painless, powerful robotic claws.
The report featured a slick, but, of course totally fake, TV news clip extolling the virtues of the new machine. In its original context on The Onion website, the report was an amusing and rather biting commentary on the ethics of capital punishment.
Most people who watched the entire video would quickly realise that the claims were not real news and were never intended to be taken seriously. If the outlandish descriptions of the killing machines were not enough to identify the clip as satire, then the blood spatted officials would surely do the job.
Nevertheless, the clip soon escaped it’s original context and began to circulate via social media. Several years later, it still does. And, despite the obvious absurdity of the story’s claims, a few wide-eyed users still mistakenly take it as real news.
At Hoax-Slayer, we’ve received a number of messages asking if the story is true. Hence this article just to set the record straight. 🙂