Is North Dakota woman's 'fat-shaming' Halloween letter to 'obese' kids a radio station prank?

The story went viral, making headlines all over the country from the Washington Times to USA Today and the Huffington Post .

NewsChannel5 reported it too : A woman in North Dakota threatening to give out letters to trick-or-treaters she deemed "moderately obese" instead of the more traditional Halloween candy.

But it seems now that may be a hoax.

It started when a woman named "Cheryl" called the Morning Playhouse show on Y-94 in Fargo, ND, saying she planned to hand out the letters to fight childhood obesity. Later the station posted the letter, which they claimed was emailed to them.

However, the Forum , Fargo's daily paper, quickly noted that "faithful listeners of the popular Y-94 morning show" were skeptical. In part because the woman's last name was never released.

That was reminiscent of another hoax the same station pulled last year, which also featured a woman calling in without giving her last name: Donna the Deer Lady .

In fact, the station has a history of such pranks, said Seattle-based talk radio show host Don O'Neill on says its calls to the station have not been returned.

So, chances are good that the letter story is a prank. After all, it happened on the 75th anniversary of Orson Welles' famous "War of the Worlds" hoax.

But even if the letter and the call are proven to be fake, Bob Collins of Minnesota Public Radio says childhood obesity is very real and it deserves attention.

Either way, people would be right to get angry about a letter like that because "fat-shaming" creates body image issues for kids, who then become more likely to disorder eat, says Tara Culp-Ressler at .

So maybe, if it calls more attention to those twin dangers, the prank will have done everyone a little good.

Print this article Back to Top