- A man claiming to be an award-winning journalist churned up viral outrage after he says he called the police on a Target manager who refused to sell him an electric toothbrush for 1 cent.
- David Leavitt tweeted a photo of the Target manager, a display that advertises an Oral-B Pro 5000 toothbrush for $0.01, and a screenshot of Massachusetts law dictating that stores must sell items for the lowest price indicated on a sign or advertisement.
- A GoFundMe started by a third party has raised more than $16,000 so far for the Target manager, who has only been identified as “Tori” – but the GoFundMe account owner has yet to track down the real Tori, so it’s unclear where the money will actually go.
- Leavitt, who also claims he plans to sue Target, is verified on Twitter and says he has bylines with CBS, AXS, Yahoo, and the Examiner, but his journalism credentials are questionable and he’s repeatedly gone viral for outrageous, offensive tweets.
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A self-identified “award-winning multimedia journalist” became the target of outrage on Twitter after he posted a picture of a Massachusetts Target manager and claimed he called the police on her because she wouldn’t sell him an electric toothbrush for one cent.
David Leavitt, who is verified on Twitter, tweeted pictures of “Tori” the store manager, a display for an Oral-B Pro 5000 toothbrush with a price tag for $0.01, and a screenshot of a webpage about the Massachusetts Item Pricing Law, which requires that stores sell items at the lowest price indicated on a sign or advertisment.
That law also states that if there is a discrepancy between the price listed on the shelf and what the item rings up as, the customer should be given a $10 deduction from the lowest advertised price. Leavitt went on to claim that Target “refused” to sell him the toothbrush and so he called the police.
Leavitt then tweeted that the police “verified” that the price of the toothbrush was listed as $0.01 and that “Tori refused to sell me the toothbrush for the displayed price.” He said the police “said I need to sue them” and that they would make a report of the incident to “take to court.”
“Corporations like @target are not above the law,” Leavitt tweeted. “The police officer told me they’d testify that they saw the price and that the manager wouldn’t sell me the item for the price listed.”
Most of the angry responses to Leavitt’s tweet criticized him for blaming the store manager and for posting a photo of her. A GoFundMe was started by a third party on behalf of “Tori” called “Send #TargetTori on a Vacation” and has since raised more than $16,000.
Many aspects of the viral moment are questionable, from the GoFundMe to Leavitt’s journalism credentials
Leavitt didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment, and didn’t provide any evidence of his encounter with the police or the report he says the police officers made on Twitter, so it’s unclear if he really called the police.
Additionally, he wrote in a follow-up tweet that “I have not been able to afford to go to a dentist in over three years. So yes I wanted a good toothbrush and was thrilled to see such an amazing prize on an @OralB but @target refused to honor it and now I have to take them to court.”
Other Twitter users pointed out that Leavitt tweeted “#YouAreWinningWhen you get the dentist’s office waiting room to turn off Fox News” on April 24, 2018, contradicting his claim that he hadn’t been to a dentist in over three years.
Leavitt’s bio on Twitter is also questionable. He claims to be an “award-winning multimedia journalist” with bylines at CBS, AXS, Yahoo, and the Examiner – but he has repeatedly gone viral for outrageous, offensive tweets, and both CBS and AXS have tweeted that he is not affiliated with them.
He appears to have been a freelancer at one point, and a screen capture on the internet archive the Wayback Machine shows he authored at least one post for AXS in 2014, but his author page has since been removed from the website.
When Leavitt last went majorly viral, it was because he tweeted “The last time I listened to Ariana Grande I almost died too” the day of the Manchester Arena bombing at a Grande concert that left 23 people dead. After that tweet received media attention for the backlash it sparked, both CBS and AXS disavowed him.
The only other recent writing Leavitt seems to have done is for his own blog, LuvItOrLeavitt. On his Muck Rack page, a site that collects journalist’s clips, most of the articles that appear to be authored by him are not actually written by Leavitt. Some are written by or are about the author David Leavitt, who is a different person.
Additionally, the GoFundMe started on behalf of the manager “Tori” is not actually linked to the Target manager herself. Despite quickly raising more than $16,000 at the time of publication, the GoFundMe was started by someone who has yet to establish communication with the real “Tori,” so the money will actually go to the third party.
The name of the GoFundMe account raising money is Carpe Donktum, who is a semi-prominent pro-Trump meme creator. They have over 200,000 Twitter followers, and used the platform to raise money for “Tori” quickly.
An update posted by Carpe Donktum, who didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment, says “I am in the process of tracking her down to discuss how to transfer the funds.” On Twitter, Carpe Donktum also said they believe they have made contact with “THE TORI” and is working to confirm her identity.
“You don’t know me, but many others do, and I hope they would say I have built my reputation as an honest person with integrity,” the account replied to someone asking how donators know the money is really going to “Tori.”
Target didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.