Internet frenzy over Beyonce's baby descends on local church
Posted January 11, 2012
Updated January 12, 2012
West End, N.C. — The pastor of a Moore County church said Wednesday that he's been flooded with calls "from across the country" regarding a hateful message about the birth of singer Beyonce Knowles' and rapper Jay-Z's baby.
The entertainment gossip website TMZ posted a photo that appeared to show the Beulah Hill Baptist Church marquee displaying the words: "Beyonce had her baby. Satan is on Earth."
TMZ reported that the message was the work of a vandal.
The photo and story have been making their rounds on the Internet, but Rev. Curtis Barbery said the photo is a fake.
"This church has no radical ideas or background," Barbery said. "(The story is) a fabrication. I'd call it a lie."
He said he never told a TMZ reporter that he "discovered the vandalism yesterday after receiving numerous complaints from locals – and removed it immediately," as the website claims, but acknowledged that he had received a call from the tabloid.
"I said, 'I have no idea what you're talking about,'" Barbery said.
WRAL News showed him the photo in question. Pastor calls TMZ story about church sign vandalism "a lie"
"That's the first time I've seen it," he said. "I think anyone who would do that is very immature and evil."
He said the sign was never vandalized and that the picture must have been doctored. Websites like Church Sign Maker appear to specialize in that very thing – creating fake images of real church signs with create-your-own messages.
Beulah Hill Baptist Church, however, wasn't in the site's list of church sign templates.
Casey Carver of TMZ declined to comment, saying only that the website stands by its story. She refused to identify the person who submitted the photo, which remained on the site as of 6 p.m.