In the days since NASCAR announced that an unidentified person left a noose in driver Bubba Wallace's garage at Talladega Superspeedway, some fans have proclaimed that the incident was a hoax. Wallace has heard these claims, and he has responded. He said that this line of thinking offends him.
Wallace appeared on The View Tuesday to reflect upon the Geico 500, the noose incident and the massive show of support from his fellow drivers. He faced questions about social media users and their hoax claims. In response, Wallace said that it's "simple-minded people" that are using everything in their power to defend what they stand up for. He said that they aren't trying to listen and understand what's going on.
.@BubbaWallace on those who believe the noose incident was staged: “It’s simple-minded people like that, the ones that are afraid of change, they use everything in their power to defend what they stand up for... instead of trying to listen and understand what’s going on.” pic.twitter.com/FikMntalwO— The View (@TheView) June 23, 2020
"Just like [NASCAR President] Steve Phelps said, it offends me that people would go to those measures," Wallace said. "But again, I'm not shocked. People are entitled to their own opinion to make them feel good and help them sleep at night, but it is still an ongoing investigation with the FBI. I can now say I've talked to the FBI. Never thought that would happen."
The FBI has not released any information about the ongoing investigation, but some social media users are saying that they have solved the case. One website, Conservative Treehouse, published an article alleging that the noose is a rope pull handle and that NASCAR created a "racial hoax" for promototion. The site alleges that NASCAR did so to build a "pop culture audience."
While some social media users are referring to the incident as a hoax, a fellow NASCAR driver has spoken out in defense of Wallace. Jesse Iwuji, an African American driver in the Gander Truck Series, explained that NASCAR fans have sent him racist messages throughout his entire career. This includes posting a photo of him with the caption: "What a stupid n—." Although Iwuji said that leaving a noose in the garage is a different level.
"To see someone go to that level, and the thing is, there are no fans at the track there," Iwuji said. "So it had to be someone, whether it was on a team or ... I don't know. Somebody got in there and put that in there. ... That's literally one step away from carrying out the real action of lynching someone. Everyone knows what that noose means. It's racist, it's hate, and it just shows that you do not care, any bit, about our race."