The horror franchise The Purge, in which people are legally permitted to commit crimes, including murder, for 12 hours, appeared to have inspired a hoax threat on Twitter promoting a "Louisville Purge," which even gave a time frame (that has passed). The message spooked scores of people and spurred copycat tweets and Facebook posts, some of which spoofed the original 2013 movie poster, as well as police action.
Officers recently located and spoke to the person they believe posted it, who is a teenager and has not been arrested or charged. The person told reporters on Friday that the message was meant to be a joke and has apologized for it.
"I didn't think it would really get that serious until it actually did," the teen was quoted as telling reporters, according to Louisville's NBC TV affiliate, WAVE 3. "Then I started feeling really bad about it because people's mamma's talkin' bout movin' to Indiana for the night and stuff. It was wrong for me to do that. I apologize to everybody in Louisville. I love my city. It's where I was born and raised. I love my city and don't really wanna harm my city. I just thought it would be funny."
Louisville police received numerous calls about the "Louisville Purge" messages and began to investigate the matter, a rep told NBC TV affiliate WAVE 3. A spokesperson for the police department in Jefferson, located about 115 miles west, told The Courier-Journal that patrols had been stepped up due to the threats. Meanwhile, a high school football scrimmage that was set to take place in Louisville was postponed due to safety concerns, the newspaper reported.
High school news website The Manual RedEye also spoke to the teen who said he posted the original tweet.
"I told them I was just joking around," the outlet quoted the person as saying. "I was sitting in my house and watching ‘The Purge,' and I thought of the tweet and picture that started it. But I didn't think it'd get that big from there. I didn't mean any harm by this at all. I love my city."