Halloween 2019 was much like any other—kids were being zipped into costumes, jack-o-lanterns were being disemboweled, and local comedian Nathan Hare was tweeting something bizarre. A few of Hare's deadpan, chaotic musings had gone a tad viral in the past, but that was nothing compared to what was in store for this image of—yes—Sprite poured and sealed into individual plastic bags.

The post gained attention both locally and around the world. For months later, it would pop up on meme pages, both with and without credit. That didn't bother Hare too much. But this week, the image began surfacing in a much different, much more alarming context.

A Twitter user posted the image with the caption "Bags of sprite flow freely in the autonomous zone," referring to the police-free zone created by protestors in Seattle. The area, nicknamed CHAZ (Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone), was first vacated by law enforcement four days ago, and has since been a place of police-free, peaceful protest

This first tweet (if it was the first) connecting the bagged Sprite and CHAZ was likely a joke, but it wasn't taken that way by all those who saw it. Hare got word through the internet that his bowl of soda had gone viral, and was being used by some individuals to make fun of the protestors. "I went down the rabbit hole, and I can't really trace where it started," says Hare, "but somehow people think that it's actually happening there." Examples below.

The photo was discussed on this right-wing podcast, and used as evidence for why left-leaning practices don't work. It was also slammed on this website I don't even want to link to but if you want to check it out that's your call. To the user confirming, "Yeah...the people in CHAZ were handing out bags of sprite," we're here to say absolutely not.

Seattle resident Alejandro Montañez shared the below photos from the autonomous zone on Thursday.

That's what CHAZ looks like. No bagged Sprite in sight. "The image was taken outside my house," says Hare. "This just feels—obviously that was a joke related to Halloween, and now it's this whole other thing." He says it's made him think about how misinformation can spread, even at a micro level: "It's scary."

The whole situation is pretty bananas, and a reminder to all of us how context and truth can be quickly lost online. It's also distracting from the real issues (you can find Seattle-based donation links here). Hare posted the whole saga on his Instagram on Friday urging everyone to continue to donate to and support the BLM movement.