TikTok users started a campaign pushing to replace the American flag with a yellow and black striped flag that featured the animated face of Diary of a Wimpy Kid‘s Manuel “Manny” Heffley. However, the collective push to make the campaign go viral was not because they wanted to replace the American flag, but to trick Fox News into reporting that this was something Generation Z actually wants to see happen.
In a petition created by TikTok star Will Wahony on Change.org, he stated: “Our flag is outdated, doesn’t portray a good message, and frankly, is ugly looking. Generation Z has developed this prototype for our flag as we dive into our future of the U.S.A. As you can tell, the blue in the top right corner has been changed to black, because BLACK LIVES MATTER.”
— wahony (@wahonyy) June 26, 2020
“The stars on the flag have been replaced with the icon of our generation, The Manny, who symbolizes unity, justice, and being unproblematic. The red stripes have been replaced with yellow stripes to symbolize happiness, positivity, clarity, energy, optimism, enlightenment, remembrance, and intellect.”
If the American flag was going to be updated, the campaign also called for the National Anthem to be changed. The newly suggested song? Wiz Khalifa’s “Black and Yellow.”
“It only makes sense for the national anthem to be changed to an incredible masterpiece that brings back nostalgia to many members of the most competent and loving generation on the planet,” the campaign states.
Inspired by the TikTok’s viral petition which successfully tricked President Trump’s campaign into believing that 1 million people would be attending his rally in Tulsa, Wahony felt empowered.
“Generation Z is the future,” the petition states. “We can do something great. Look at how easy it is to come together with our knowledge about social media. We just need to be coming together for the right things. Let’s change the world, one Manny at a time.”
However, the campaign’s downfall in successfully pulling off the charade seems to been a conversation published on Reddit explaining TikTok users’ real goal behind Manny Flag. If a Fox News reporter googled “Manny Flag,” this Reddit thread was the first pop up at the top of the search page.
Anonymous Helped Bolster the Campaign to Surge Past 1 Million Signatures
— Anonymous (@YourAnonCentral) June 27, 2020
While pictures of the Manny flag started appearing on Twitter on June 25, after Anonymous, which has 6.5 million followers on the social media site, shared the link to the campaign on Saturday, the petition blew up with signatures and started trending nationally.
I rlly didn’t pay attention to twitter until the flag I designed is trending 😹 it’s not supposed to go like this #mannyflag
anyways here’s the untagged video ✌️😌 pic.twitter.com/aiStF46gGU
— toby phillips (@toborowitz) June 27, 2020
To further the hoax, one online user tweeted stated that he would be wearing yellow and black to celebrate Independence Day.
— sierra✨acab🔪😍 (@sierraraineh) June 26, 2020
Numerous people on Twitter also shared the e-mails they sent to Fox News staffers about their petition. As of Saturday evening, over 1 million people had signed the Manny Flag campaign.
Wahony Explained the True Goal Behind the Manny Campaign in a Video
After the Manny Flag campaign grew in popularity on both TikTok and Twitter, Wahony explained the trickery behind the campaign. He said, “Yesterday, I made a video that blew up about Gen Z can come together and can prank anyone just because we feel like it. So, here’s the plan: Our goal is to convince fox news to make a story on how gen z is trying to change the American flag.”
“Obviously, the flag isn’t going to be changed but it’s f***ing funny… So Oh yeah, spread the word. Let’s f***ing do it.”