By now, most of you have heard of Alex Jones. Some of you may not recognize the name, but know him from some meme of one of his many impassioned rants. One in particular that always gets brought up is his famous “they are turning the frogs gay!”outburst.
This rant is a favorite of anyone trying to show of Jones’ crazier side. Now, I have heard this quote referenced many times by Cenk Uygur, John Oliver and other commentators and pundits in the past, but it was not until a recent segment by Stephen Colbert that I actually fact checked it. To say the least I was surprised by what I found.
At first, I could not stop laughing. No matter how many times I watched, I lost it when Colbert shouted “THIS IS WHY YOU DON’T MIX STEROIDS AND PEYOTE!” mocking Alex Jones. The second thing that grabbed my attention was that out of all the claims he shows Jones making in his compilation, the “gay frogs” quote stood out as extra crazy. This is why I was so surprised when I found that in this instance Jones is right! As crazy as it sounds, there is a chemical used as a herbicide called Atrazine,does exactly what Alex Jones claims in the clip. Legitimate studies by biologists at Berkley University have proven that by drastically affecting hormone levels, this chemical turns 75% of male frogs exposed to it into females capable of reproduction.While the science on how this chemical affects other animals including humans is much less clear and highly controversial, one thing is certain: that they ARE in fact “turning the frogs gay”.
Now, I am not asserting that Colbert and the others purposely tried to be misleading. This is the kind of statement that most people would disregard as nonsense without a second thought, as I had done many times. With all the genuine disinformation out there, it is hard to blame someone for not taking the time to look into something as seemingly crazy as this. Especially when presented in the style of Alex Jones losing his shit. If there is one thing I learned from this it is to fact check even seemingly crazy statements before discounting them as falsehoods. It turns out that reality is indeed sometimes stranger than fiction.