Teachers' Union President Apologizes for Circulating Fabricated Florida Banned Book List
A social media post circulated by Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, claimed that "The Handmaid's Tale," "Of Mice and Men," "The Outsiders," and "1984" were among 21 other books on "Florida's Anti-Woke banned book list." The post garnered over 23.2K retweets and received over 135.4K likes on Twitter. Like the novels it contained, the list was also a work of fiction.
On Sunday, after it was revealed that the list was fraudulent, Weingarten tweeted: "I should have double checked before I retweeted this list. My bad."
Weingarten, now beginning her eighth term as AFT president, responded: "We thought it was checked. My bad and I deleted..."
Bryan Griffin, press secretary for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, confirmed the inauthenticity of the list in an email to Snopes. "The image is fake," he wrote, "This is just a completely fictitious list made by people potentially living in an alternate reality ... Some of the listed books are specifically mentioned in Florida's Benchmarks for Excellent Student Thinking (B.E.S.T.) Standards." The B.E.S.T. standards were introduced in Florida under DeSantis in 2021.
In March, Moms for Liberty's Brevard County chapter identified 10 books the group believed were in violation of the Florida statute, not one of which was on the list Weingarten circulated. Among the titles flagged for perceived obscenity were: Elana K. Arnold's "Red Hood"; Alice Sebold's "Lucky"; and Juno Dawson's "This Book Is Gay."