For once, an Internet hoax had a happy ending. Earlier this year, Papa John’s pizzeria and online textbook company Chegg sponsored a contest for students to enter for a chance to win an on-campus performance from “Begin Again” singer Taylor Swift via Facebook votes. The top five schools with the most clicks would win $10,000, and the #1 would also get the special appearance from Taylor. One school in particular soared to the top of the list of entrants with more than 20 thousand votes — but not necessarily for admirable reasons…
Once posters on 4chan and Reddit learned of the challenge, they began to campaign for users to support a public school in Allston (a neighborhood in Boston, MA). A public school for the deaf in Allston, to be more precise. Since the contest promised to send Taylor to whichever school garnered the most recognition on FB, The Horace Mann School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing became the sole focus of Internet pranksters. According to one Reddit user, “The concept is still hilarious, at least to me.”
However, the joke’s now on those who participated in the prank, as Horace Mann (though removed from the official running due to the degrading nature of the voting process) was granted a personal donation of $10,000 from Taylor herself, matched by CoverGirl (which Taylor’s a current spokesperson for) and American Greetings. In addition, VH1’s Save the Music program shelled out $10,000 worth of instruments for the Allston school’s students. On top of that, Miss Swift says that all of the attendees will receive tickets to her next local show. Principal/headmaster Jeremiah Ford tells The Boston Globe, “Are we the winner? Absolutely.”
Leave it to Taylor to put bullies in their place. After all, she wrote a whole song about them. Why you gotta be so mean? Still, do you agree with the contest official’s decision to not have Taylor perform at the school even though it won?