No, Venus Williams didn’t forfeit a match by refusing to play against a trans woman– it’s fake news

Venus Williams

Tennis legend Venus Williams did not forfeit a match by refusing to play a trans woman, it was a just a “joke”. 

A Facebook post which stemmed from a satire article by Conservative Tears, a subsidiary of the Facebook page America’s Last Line of Defense, has tricked viewers with what was clearly misinformation. 

Conservative Tears, which states on its “about us” section that “everything” on it “is fiction” and “satire”, posted an article claiming Williams refused to play against a transgender opponent. 

A post circulated on Facebook following the article going live, showed her sister, Serena, after her winning match in the 2022 US Open against Danka Kovinić, and French star Amélie Mauresmo – who isn’t trans. 

The images were overlayed with text that read: “Venus Williams forfeits match against trans woman: ‘I’m not playing a man.” 

Many pointed out that the news was “fake” and the photo showed Serena, not the subject of the article Venus. 

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But others didn’t catch on to the fact it was so-called “satire”, with some using it to hit out against trans athletes. 

What’s more: in 2023, queer history was made at the US Open when two openly gay players – Daria Kasatkina and Greet Minnen – faced off in the Grand Slam for the first time.

America’s Last Line of Defence was started by Christopher Blair in 2016. In a 2020 interview he said his network of satire sites bring in millions of page views. 

He runs eight websites and five Facebook pages from his home in Maine and says the claims his articles make are “ridiculous,” for example, that President Donald Trump’s term could be extended by three years, or that Jill Biden said that all Americans will be “required” to learn Spanish if her husband wins the 2020 election.

Blair said that these fake stories are targeted to a right-wing audience who he does not hold in high regard. 

“They live on… fear and hate and misinformation and very specific storylines that everybody knows aren’t true except for them,” he told AFP.

However, his content is widely shared by people who take it as fact, contributing to the spread of false information online: and regularly has to be fact checked by Snopes, Reuters and, in this case, PinkNews.