Beyonce and Jay Z not buying rights to Confederate flag, despite reports

A fake story reporting that Jay Z and Beyonce would reclaim the Confederate flag by buying the rights to it proves too good to resist for news outlets and gets thousands of Facebook shares.

Fake story proves too good to resist for news outlets, gets thousands of Facebook shares

Even if superstars Jay Z and Beyoncé wanted to buy the rights to the Confederate flag, which they don't, they couldn't legally make it happen because the flag is public domain. (Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

One of America's richest and most influential couples using their power for good sounds like a refreshing concept. 

That may be why news outlets were so easily fooled on Wednesday by a fake report stating that Jay Z and Beyonce are trying to buy the rights to the Confederate flag so that racist people can't use it anymore.

"Mr. and Mrs. Carter wants [sic] to assist in the abolishment of the flag by purchasing the resell rights to the Confederate flag," Newswatch33 quoted Ralph Hammerstein, a supposed attorney representing Shawn "Jay Z" Carter and Beyonce Knowles-Carter. "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."

The Confederate flag has been under fire in the aftermath of the Charleston church shooting, but it won't be reclaimed by artists Jay Z and Beyonce. (Carlo Allegri/Reuters)

Purchasing the rights would run the pair about $280 million US, according to Newswatch33. 

The Confederate flag as a symbol of racist ideology has come under heavy fire since the deadly attack last month on a South Carolina church. Dylann Roof, 21, who faces nine counts of murder in the shooting, posed with a gun and the Confederate flag in photos that surfaced online after the murders.  

The idea that beloved America icons Bey and Jay Z could reclaim it and make the country a better place was a story too good to resist for some.

But, turns out it was too good to be true, too. 

According to Gawker's Antiviral, lawyer Ralph Hammerstein is fictional. 

"Redditors should pool their resources and buy the rights to the pirate flag. Would stop piracy," joked Reddit user Pontus_Pilates after news outlets believed Bey and Jay Z were buying the rights to the Confederate flag.

But, even if Jay Z and Beyonce wanted to, it is impossible to buy the rights to the Confederate flag — or any flag for that matter — according to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. It is public domain. claims to "provide the latest shocking global news headlines," but does so satirically.

That becomes abundantly clear once you dig a little deeper and find ridiculous headlines such as "Charleston Church Shooter Receives $4 Million in Donations" or "Ben Affleck Divorces Jennifer Garner In Light of Same-Sex Marriage Legalization."

Or the even more absurd, "ISIS Use Shark Attacks As Part Of Terrorism."

Fake Beyonce, Jay Z story shared on Facebook 

Many of the Newswatch33 stories have a thread of truth to them, however, and outlets like The Source, Complex, Metro and fashion magazine Dazed got pulled into the fray and wrote the story as fact. 

Once Reddit caught wind of it, the story was quickly debunked, but not before it racked up thousands of Facebook shares.

'They can't even prevent people from copying their music,' wrote Reddit user Nicolas_Flamel as part of a thread that debunked the news that Bey and Jay Z would buy the rights to the flag. (Spike)

Metro in the U.K. skirted an admission that they'd been had by subtly issuing a new story with the headline "Nope! Jay Z and Beyonce aren't trying to buy the rights to the Confederate flag." 

Some Reddit users had fun with the misinformation.

"Why not buy the star spangled banner and rhyme it up while they are at it? Maybe make it feature Rihanna?" asked JayMeaux88. 

"I'd...I'd listen to that," was the first response. 


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