In addition to the identity of the man on the grassy knoll and the location of Jimmy Hoffa’s body, armchair sleuths have found a new viral mystery to ponder: Who really baked the “Sorry I Tased You” cake?
The drama started last week when The Pensacola News-Journal reported that Stephanie Byron filed a civil lawsuit in federal court alleging that a former Escambia County deputy discharged a stun gun into her chest and neck without provocation in July of 2015. According to court documents the deputy, Michael Wohlers, later attempted to apologize by sending Byron a cake with “Sorry I Tased You” written in blue frosting.
But after the story went viral and was reported by news outlets around the globe, some eagle-eyed Internet sleuths began to question the cake’s credibility. First, Buzzfeed news reported on Twitter that the photo was first posted on Reddit in 2014,
On Friday, Byron’s attorney Alistair McKenzie attempted to clarify the issue and said that Wohlers sent Byron a text message with a picture of the iconic cake, not the real thing, and indicated that he wanted to bake it for her.
But this still did not answer the burning question: Was the whole thing a hoax cooked up by McKenzie’s client? And if not, who made the cake? Gizmodo reported that two police officers in Barnstable, Massachusetts, Jay Maloney and Katie Ross, emailed the site and claimed that they knew the cake’s real origin story.
The officers said that at around 1:30 A.M. on January 1, 2014, Maloney accidentally tased Ross when they were struggling with two suspects in a father-son domestic dispute. Since Ross was out of work for a month after the incident, Maloney felt guilty and presented her with the infamous cake. Ross told Gizmodo that they believe the photo went viral because “Everyone wants to take credit for Maloney’s awesomeness.”
“Everyone’s trying to steal my cake! The media doesn’t care to do a simple Google search to see the cake has been on the Internet for a year longer than the incident,” Maloney wrote on his Facebook page. “This was an incident between coworkers. I made Katie Ross the cake!”
Some commenters remain skeptical, pointing to the fact that the “floors look different” in the two pictures. But other than the lighting, they appear to be virtually identical, and the fact that the stick figures on the cake both appear to be wearing police uniforms adds further credibility to Maloney’s story.
Byron’s suit claims that Wohlers violated her civil rights, committed battery against her, and caused her hardships, including physical injuries, monetary loss, medical expenses, humiliation, and mental anguish. But some commenters have asked if new information coming to light could affect the lawsuit in progress. One man wrote, “You need to contact Sheriff Morgan [in Pensacola]. If that is the picture the plaintiff submitted with the law suit…“, to which Maloney responded “In progress.”
Main photo: This image released by Alistair McKenzie shows the cake received by his client Stephanie Byron [Photo: Courtesy of Alistair McKenzie via AP]