A nebulous entity calling itself “White Lies Matter” has announced that it will return a stolen Confederate monument, but that it converted the stolen relic into a toilet, upending a bizarre ransom process.
Earlier this week, White Lies Matter took credit for the March 19 theft of the Jefferson Davis Memorial Chair from a Selma, Alabama, cemetery. The chair is a stone throne dedicated to the president of the short-lived Confederate States, and part of a Confederate cemetery managed by the group United Daughters of the Confederacy. Previously, White Lies Matter said it would return the chair if the UDC headquarters flew a banner with a quote from a Black Liberation Army member. But on Wednesday night, White Lies Matter sent The Daily Beast and other media organizations pictures, supposedly of the chair with a hole punctured in it, with a man appearing to use the chair as a toilet and a Confederate flag as toilet paper. AL.com was the first to report the pictures.
In a phone call with The Daily Beast, an unnamed member of White Lies Matter said the group was on its way to deposit the chair at an undisclosed location, and that they would send its coordinates to the UDC. The man insisted that the toilet-chair in the photographs was the stolen monument, and not some kind of replica. “It’s the chair. They’ll find out tomorrow when they go get it. It’s just that it’s got a hole in it,” he said. He added that he was “absolutely” worried about being identified from the photographs but, “we’re just gonna have to wait and see.”
A police report previously pegged the chair’s value at $500,000, a figure that the White Lies Matter associate disputed, but that would nevertheless make its theft a serious offense. He said his group intended to call attention to the harm of monuments to pro-slavery figures, and to the some Americans’ reluctance to remove them. “It seems like their protocol is to put these inanimate things over the lives of people,” he said. “This goes back to the Civil War. This is the lost cause, this is the southern way.”