The Anti-Defamation League said Thursday that a widely circulated story that a Pennsylvania Jewish family fled their home after being blamed for the cancellation of a school Christmas play was false.
“News reports alleging that a Jewish family has ‘fled’ Lancaster County are untrue and damaging,” ADL Regional Director Nancy Baron-Baer said in a statement. “We spoke with the family, who explained that they went on a previously-planned vacation for the holidays. Stories like this can sow fear in the Jewish community and beyond, and it is important to stop the spread of misinformation.”
A report that originated from local outlet LancasterOnline.com and quickly spread to national publications, where commenters left threatening messages.
The publication quoted the family as saying their child had been harassed at school and they were leaving town because they weren’t “going to take a chance after the pizza incident," a reference to the "Pizzagate" fake news story — about Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonDemocrats step up calls that Russian hack was act of war Comet Ping Pong shooter pleads guilty Time for 'J. Edgar' Comey to take his leave MORE's campaign using a D.C. pizza restaurant as a front for a child sex trafficking ring — that led a man to fire a gun inside the restaurant.
The parents reportedly said that they had simply asked for their child to be excused from participating in the play and never demanded its cancellation.
Baron-Baer said there is “no truth” to the claim that Hempfield School District family objected to the play. It was reported their complaints centered on the production's famous line “God bless us, every one.”
The school also denied that explanation, and said the play was cancelled because of how time-consuming it had become.
"One rumor we've been addressing is that one or two families influenced this decision. That's just not true. The instructional time issue was our primary concern," Principal Tom Kramer wrote on the school district website.
This was updated to reflect the Anti-Defamation League's statement at 9:08 p.m.