Back in 1960, a story got around about a TV viewer in the South who thought he saw a black man kissing a white woman on a popular TV show. So he wrote to the sponsor of the show to complain. The sponsor acted quickly to calm the man and assure him that they would never sponsor a show on which such an act occurred. They flew an account executive down to see the man and held a private screening for him, to demonstrate to him that the actor in question was actually white. His local station had accidentally broadcast the show at a high contrast ratio, making the actor appear darker than he really was.
When Paul Krassner, editor of the counterculture publication The Realist, heard about this, he was outraged. (…)
It’s worth noting that it’s not clear whether the story of the account executive and the racist viewer is true. Krassner insisted it was, but he never provided a source for the tale, nor any specific details. So it’s possible he was reacting to an urban legend.
Nevertheless, the story inspired him to take action. He decided a hoax was in order…
Jersey City high school candidate for student gov’t sent racist texts to himself, school official says