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Suspiciously Specific Denial / Real Life

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  • John Straffen, a British murderer, said to the police when arrested for the third murder he committed: "I did not kill the little girl on the bicycle."
  • After Pol Pot died, Khmer Rouge military Chief Ta Mok, who arrested him, described that his death was due to heart failure: "He was sitting in his chair waiting for the car to come. But he felt tired. His wife asked him to take a rest. He lay down on his bed. His wife heard a gasp of air. It was the sound of dying. When she touched him he had already passed away. It was at 10:15 last night." But he also couldn't help repeatedly asserting that "no one poisoned him," which has encouraged speculation that this was exactly what did happen.
  • Sometimes, when there's demand for something illegal, companies will make unrelated products with instructions telling you not to do something that will "accidentally" do or create that illegal thing instead:
    • According to American folklore, during Prohibition, demand for canned malt extract and fruit concentrates shot through the roof — and such products often had "warning labels" describing exactly what you shouldn't do with the product and a packet of yeast to prevent making beer or wine. (You don't see many such labels floating around, though; in reality, recipes were just mailed out under the table like hardcore porn.)
    • "Legal highs" refer to things you can buy legitimately and get high from. However, none of these things can be legally sold as recreational drugs, so they're often sold as "plant food", "bath salts", or "cleaning solutions". They come with "warnings" saying things like "ingestion may cause euphoria."
    • "Head shops" specialize in cannabis consuming accessories, but since they aren't legally allowed to help people consume cannabis (in places where it's illegal), such accessories will be sold as "tobacco smoking accessories" or "water pipes". These places might even kick you out if you mention weed (or any other illegal substance).
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    • In eras when abortion was illegal and drugs were largely unregulated, abortion pills were marketed specifically "for married women" to cure headaches. They contained the warning: "May cause miscarriage".
  • O.J. Simpson, famously acquitted of the charge of murdering his ex-wife and her boyfriend, later wrote a book about the event called If I Did It, Later changed to "If I Did It: Confessions of the Killer" (with the "If" in really tiny font, making it appear at a first glance to read simply "I Did It"). The title changes were done at the request of the Goldmans, who had secured the rights to the book prior to its publications as partial settlement of the money owed them by Simpson as a result of him losing a wrongful death lawsuit brought by them. In any event, even if O.J. did confess outright, he could not be tried again due to "double jeopardy" laws.note 
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  • Muhammad Saeed al-Sahhaf, better known as "Baghdad Bob" or "Comical Ali", was the Iraqi Information Minister during the Iraq War, who very categorically denied that American troops were in Baghdad — even as American tanks were visible in the background of his press conferences in later stages of the war. He became a meme for his insistence that American troops were nowhere near the Iraqi capital, and certainly not at the city's airport:
    Al-Sahhaf: There are no American infidels in Baghdad. Never! They are not in Baghdad. They are not in control of any airport. It tell you this: it is all a lie. They lie. It is a Hollywood movie. You do not believe them. They're not even within 100 miles of Baghdad. They are not in any place. They hold no place in Iraq. This is an illusion... they are trying to sell to others an illusion. At Saddam Airport? Now that's just silly!
  • The FBI does not have the original plans for Tesla's Death Ray. In fact, those have been seized by the alien property office.
    Since 1943, we have told a consistent story to all who have asked.
  • Ted Haggard, Heteronormative Crusader and preacher: "I've never said that I'm perfect, but I haven't had sex with a man in Denver." Turns out he did (and paid him for it), and his name became a byword for Armored Closet Gay, to the point that Rational Wiki refers to the phenomenon as "Haggard's Law":
    The more vocally opposed a person is to homosexuality, the more likely they are to be gay themself and closeted about it.
  • In the mid-2000s, bassist Michael Anthony left Van Halen amongst rumors that he'd been fired. Several years later, Anthony and fellow VH alum Sammy Hagar formed a new band called Chickenfoot with guitar god Joe Satriani and Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith. When VH guitarist Eddie Van Halen was asked on camera if he'd heard Chickenfoot's debut album, he made no comment about the album but denied firing Anthony or Hagar. In a subsequent interview, they pointed out that Eddie ignored the reporter's question and instead answered something that hadn't even been asked.
  • This gem, from a 1932 Nazi paper denying they were planning to overthrow the government:
    The next lie aimed against the Nazis will probably be that the Nazis are preparing a march on Switzerland to hang all speculators who fled from Germany and betrayed the German nation!note 
  • On The Other Wiki, it's been a Running Gag almost since day one that "There Is No Cabal". Generally, the people saying that are presumed to be part of the non-existent Cabal whose existence they're denying.
  • On June 15, 1961, at an international press conference on the Berlin sector border, Walter Ulbricht, General Secretary of the Communist Party of East Germany said, "No one has the intention of erecting a wall!"Original German  Only nobody mentioned anything about putting up a wall. And two months later, that's exactly what they did.
  • As seen on The Daily Show's "This Week in God" segment, from the CEO of the NASCAR Dianetics car team:
    Grant Cardone: Dianetics has allowed me to be happy in my life... There was one source to all my problems. It wasn't a million answers, it wasn't a million different possibilities. It wasn't mommy, it wasn't daddy, it wasn't what my twin brother did to me when we were six.
    (cut to Rob Corddry's horrified reaction)
    Corddry: I don't want to do this story anymore. Please, God, make it go away!
  • The website used to have the disclaimer "NOT associated with Landover or Westboro Baptist in any way."
  • The makers of a set of plastic straps for bundling things unwisely advertised them as being good for, among other things, "law enforcement", with the image of a man using the product to handcuff someone. A reporter for the Chicago Tribune called the company just to ask if they were encouraging this sort of use, and a spokesperson responded:
    We do not endorse or encourage that particular use of the product by anyone who is not a police officer. And I do not torture cats.
  • Christine O'Donnell, a candidate for public office who had much earlier admitted to dabbling in witchcraft when she was in high school, had to release a television commercial in which she denied being a witch.
  • The Chinese idiom for this trope literally translates to, "There is no silver buried here." It derives from a legend of a not-too-bright man who tried to hide his silver under a few inches of dirt and a sign saying, "There aren't 300 taels of silver buried here." His neighbor Wong stole the silver and left a second sign saying, "Wong from next door didn't steal it." The guy took Wong to court, but the judge was very Literal-Minded and ruled for Wong.
  • Failblog has a whole tag for suspiciously specific instructions.
  • In the 1960s, the Norwegian government issued two unprompted statements saying that Crown Prince Harald had absolutely no intention of marrying a commoner. Then, in March of 1968, the palace announced that the Crown Prince was engaged to commoner Sonja Haraldsen.
  • During World War II, British commander Claude Auchinleck wrote a letter to his commanders saying of how the troops were so afraid of Erwin Rommel that they were attributing superpowers to him. After several sentences saying how silly these things were, Auchinleck ended the letter with "I am not jealous of Rommel."
  • The correction at the end of this New York Times article: "No cows, smuggled or otherwise, ever fell from a plane into a Japanese fishing rig."
  • Articles in the magazine 2600 have disclaimers that they're only for educational purposes, and clearly not for scamming phone companies or hacking into computers.
  • In 1983, Baltimore Colts owner Bob Irsay was rumored to be trying to move the team out of Baltimore; suspected destinations included Phoenix, Memphis, and Indianapolis. Irsay held an impromptu press conference where he angrily denied that he was moving the team to Phoenix or Memphis. He moved the team to Indianapolis four months later.
  • Tim Pawlenty is definitely not gay.
  • On May 19, 2011, Atlus sent out a fake June 23, 1999 newsletter to Atlus Faithful, including the headline "This Week in News: Absolutely no new games releasing today in Japan." note 
  • Congressman Anthony Weiner ran right into this trope while trying to wheedle out of a sex scandal involving sending explicit pictures of himself to women through Twitter. Every single statement he made just dug him in deeper and deeper and deeper. He really should have known better.
  • Capcom would like you to know that Keiji Inafune leaving had absolutely nothing at all to do with the decision to cancel Mega Man Legends 3.
  • The China Incident. Which the Japanese government quite clearly stated was not a war at all, but rather a border clash that had gotten out of hand. An Incident. Not a war.
  • Any investment scheme that has a section of its sales pitch devoted to "why this is not a pyramid scheme" probably is a pyramid scheme. Or maybe they are truthful that it isn't a pyramid scheme, because it's a Ponzi scheme, which technically isn't the same thing.
  • In the '70s, Tennessee Governor Ray Blanton said, right out of the blue, on a live TV interview, "I haven't sold a single pardon."
  • The website of Hepzibah House, a religious boarding school in Indiana, reassuringly informs parents that none of their students say they experienced physical, emotional, or sexual abuse. No one knows where CNN might have gotten that idea.
  • The Global Times, a Chinese newspaper and government mouthpiece, released this headline after China refused to extend the visa of Melissa Chan, an Al-Jazeera correspondent in Beijing: "Chan case not a sign of growing tensions with journalists".
  • After a rash of incidents involving cannibalism or face-eating, an agency spokesman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated, "CDC does not know of a virus or condition that would reanimate the dead (or one that would present zombie-like symptoms)."
  • A brand of potato chips in Finland is labeled as "not produced in Poland but in Germany".
  • Ten minutes into this interview, Paula Broadwell, author of All In: The Education of David Petraeus, says, apropos of nothing else whatsoever, "I'm not in love with David Petraeus!" Eight months later, it came out that she had been having an affair with him.
  • This exchange between an anchorman and anchorwoman:
    Anchorman: Were you spanked much as a child?
    Anchorwoman: As a child? No.
    (Anchorman reacts as expected)
  • Jimmy Savile said that he didn't have a computer at home, because he didn't want anyone to think he was downloading child porn. He may not have been doing that, but it came out after he died that he had raped and molested hundreds of children.
  • During the lead-up to its activation, spokespeople for the Large Hadron Collider assured the public there was only a very, very small chance they would create a black hole which would destroy the Earth.
  • This house we're selling is NOT haunted. (In all honesty, it's hit-or-miss whether a house being haunted actually depresses its value; there are enough Nightmare Fetishists out there who might be interested.)
  • Senator Rand Paul told an Iowanote  reporter that he hadn't decided whether to run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, but "I am traveling to a lot of states that just coincidentally have early primaries."
  • US Congresswoman Michele Bachmann of Minnesota declared, in May 2013, that she won't be seeking reelection in 2014. Her statement included the line, "This decision was not impacted in any way by the recent inquiries into the activities of my former presidential campaign or my former presidential staff."
  • The NSA is not spying on Americans. In a similar vein, Microsoft, Google, Apple, Facebook, and Yahoo absolutely do not give the government backdoor access to their servers. Certainly not without a warrant.note 
  • I have no problem with the scouts decision to keep the ban on gay scout leaders, but allow gay young men to participate in scouting. Oh, and being gay is not a sin!
  • More Weird Things Customers Say In Bookshops describes a customer at Ripping Yarns asking for a picture book for her daughter, saying she thinks the writer was E.L. James. When the bookseller delicately explains what E.L. James actually wrote, the flustered customer blurts out "I don't know why that name came into my head! I've never read those books! Never!"
  • Bottled water likes to pretend it's better than tap water and not exactly the same thing in a different package. We swear this isn't tap water. Honest.
  • Toronto mayor Rob Ford produced a gem during a city council meeting after he admitted smoking crack "in one of [his] drunken stupors": "I've said it would never happen again, and it has never happened again at Air Canada Centre." The council voted to relieve him of his mayoral powers. Which was the most they could do, because there's no provision for impeachment of the Toronto mayor.
  • Inverse No True Scotsman behavior, such as:
    • "I'm not a racist, but [racist remark]."
    • "I'm not a prude, but [person expresses prudish opinion]."
    • "I'm not a slut, but [person behaves inappropriately sexually]."
    • "I'm not a feminist, but [expresses some feminist belief]."
    • "I don't believe in censorship, but [person advocates censoring something]."
    • "[person says mean thing] I mean that in a nice way, though."
    • "I'm not hitting on you (but I totally am, just in a stealthy way)."
  • A staple of Soviet-era humor is the "Radio Yerevan" joke, about how Armenian radio shows of the era were question-and-answer shows that tended to answer questions about Communism like this (or not, as the case may be):
    Q: What is chaos?
    A: Sorry, we don't answer economic questions.
  • In response to internet rumors that his strikingly youthful appearance is caused by being a vampire, Pharrell Williams told a reporter, "I’m willing to go on record as saying that I don’t drink people’s blood." Which, as some news reports jokingly pointed out, is exactly what a vampire would say.
  • The official names for the 1989 US military invasion of Panama (Operation Just Cause) and its aftermath (Operation Promote Liberty) had a whiff of this trope since the invasion had a cool reception from the international community.
  • A warrant canary is a sign by which an organization informs its users that it has not received a secret government subpoena (like a sticker saying "The FBI has not been here", as illustrated in the Wikipedia article). This happens because if the organization actually did receive a secret subpoena, it would be forbidden by law from disclosing this fact, but it still can inform its users of such an event in a roundabout way: by removing the sign.
  • In 2013, there was a rumor going around that Joss Whedon had gotten a $100 million contract from Disney to direct Avengers: Age of Ultron. He quickly dismissed the rumors, saying he was absolutely not getting paid $100 million for Age of Ultron. But considering that he had basically been hired to run the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it's easy to think he got a $100 million contract for all that.
  • In 2015, a driver in Lincoln, Nebraska was arrested after police found a plastic sour cream container under the passenger seat labelled "not weed".
  • In 1993, after complaints about the prior year's performance, the Auckland University Students' Association decided to cancel the annual pub crawl. As a result, there was not a pub crawl that year. It did not start from the quad at 12:30, and it certainly did not include the establishments shown on the map in the campus newspaper. And indeed, because it did not happen, there weren't the marshals and other volunteers to contain matters and help pick up the pieces.
  • As it installs itself over your old version of Windows, Windows 10 wants you to know that "All of your files are exactly where you left them." And they are — other than also being shoved into another "windows.old" folder.
  • According to Henry Kissinger, this is sometimes deliberately invoked in international relations; giving another nation a formal reassurance that you don't intend to do something can be more unnerving than a direct threat to do that thing, with the added bonuses that the other party has no idea what you actually intend and, as far as anyone else is concerned, you haven't actually threatened anything.
  • In 2016, German comedian Jan Böhmermann wrote a poem roasting Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, introducing it as "something that would be in no way legal to say, which is why I'm not saying it." The Turkish government prosecuted him for it anyway (or rather, leaned on the German government to invoke its arcane law against making fun of a head of state) and was quick to point out that their behavior had exactly nothing to do with an important agreement regarding refugees that Turkey and the EU had signed a few weeks before.
  • Stephen Colbert points out that "I'm not pouring Baileys in my cereal" is exactly the sort of thing someone who's pouring Bailey's in their cereal would say.
  • John F. Kennedy kept his Addison's disease a secret until after his election to the U.S. presidency in 1960. At one point during the election, his opponents leaked reports of his illness to try to attack his "fit young candidate" image, but Kennedy's doctors released a (true) statement that JFK did not have Addison's as a result of tuberculosis. As it wasn't yet widely understood that 80% of Addison's cases, Kennedy's included, are not TB-related, the opposition's claim didn't stick.
  • The Daily Mail has a tendency to do this:
    • In responding to a Gawker piece on how shoddy its journalistic practices had become, the Mail Online denied that it cavalierly ripped off photos from the Today show's website — an allegation that, as Gawker noted, it had never actually made in the original story.
    • A 2017 comment piece said that "neither the [Prime Minister] nor the paper supports genocide." Nobody had really said they did.
  • Jeff Sessions, during his confirmation hearing for Attorney General in 2017, was asked by Senator Al Franken what he would do if anyone in Donald Trump's presidential campaign had improper communication with the Russians. He emphatically denied that he himself had any contact with the Russians during Donald Trump's presidential campaign. Franken, among others, noted the denial wasn't an answer to what he had been asked. Inevitably, in the following weeks, Sessions admitted that he did indeed have contact with a few Russians and had to recuse himself from an investigation into the matter.
  • The straddling bus scandal in China blew up after a reporter visited the headquarters of the company promoting the bus and noticed a stream of investors leaving the office with gifts and bags of cash. Zhang Wei, the bus developer's director of planning and development, told the reporter, "We are just a private tech company. We are not a briefcase company for illegal fund-raising."
  • The Boring Company's flamethrower, having encountered potential problems with customs regulations around the world, has changed to calling it "Not A Flamethrower", with one of Elon Musk's suggestions being "Temperature Enhancement Device".
  • The UK Secretary of State for Leaving the European Union, David Davis, said in February 2018 that Brexit would not plunge Britain into a "Mad Max dystopia". There was wide speculation about the other dystopia styles that had apparently been left on the table.
  • This blog post depicts an encounter, right before an Iron Maiden concert, with a man who strenuously denies that he is Dave Murray, and thus refuses to take a picture with the writer, despite not actually being asked if he was Murray. That is until some sexy ladies ask him the same question, and suddenly he admits it.
  • If a high-ranking employee of a corporation leaves after a short period of time, the company is in fact required to make a statement of this effect to say that the employee's leaving is "not due to any disagreement with the company regarding its financial reporting, policies or practices, or any potential fraud relating thereto." See, for instance, former GameStop CEO Michael Mauler, or former Tesla Motors CAO Dave Morton.
  • After the bizarre Brian Wells murder case (a.k.a. the "Pizza Bomber robbery") seemingly hit a dead end, William "Bill" Rothstein, who lived near the place where Wells was fitted with the infamous bomb collar, called the police to confess to having a body in his freezer which he hid at the behest of his ex-girlfriend, Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong. While showing the police his house, Rothstein produced a suicide note that he had written for an attempt that he never carried out. The note began with "This has nothing to do with the Wells case." Sure enough, Rothstein and Diehl-Armstrong were discovered to be the masterminds of the scheme that led to Wells' death, and the body was that of the latter's boyfriend, who knew this and threatened to tell the police everything.
  • Julian Assange most certainly does not bleach his hair, which makes sense, given its source was a humorous Things You Are Not Allowed to Do list variant.
  • Blizzard Entertainment, after banning Hong Kong-based Hearthstone pro Blitzchung and revoking his prize money after he expressed support for the Hong Kong Pro-Democracy protests on an official stream, specifically denied that their relationship with China had anything to do with the severity of the punishment. This is despite a statement on Hearthstone's official Weibo account that strongly condemned Blitzchung's actions, and that they "will always respect and defend the pride of our country [China]"
  • This story on Not Always Right story where a customer calls to complain about some odd charges and the employee immediately denies that the company is stealing from them.
  • Bobby Petrino has entries in both the "Notorious Figures" folder of the Collegiate American Football page and the "Coaches" folder of the National Football League Notorious Figures page, with one of many contributing factors being a history of such remarks:
    • In 2003, during the first season of his first head coaching stint at the University of Louisville, officials from Auburn (where he had been an assistant just the season before) quietly flew to a small airport just across the Ohio River from Louisville to interview him. He denied multiple times that he had interviewed with Auburn... until two Louisville reporters presented him with proof of the flight.
    • In 2012, after four successful seasons at Arkansas, Petrino got into a motorcycle accident. Two days later, while in a neck brace and with his face still red from scrapes, he gave a press conference in which he insisted that he had been on a day trip with his wife, and was the only person on the motorcycle. For two more days, he continued to insist to the Razorbacks athletic director that he was the only person on board... until a state trooper who had been providing security for him during the football season tipped him off that the police report on the accident would be released. Literally 20 minutes before the report was issued, he admitted to the AD that he had a passenger. A female passenger... not his wife, or a daughter, but rather a mistress in her mid-twenties, essentially half his age. On top of that, he admitted that he had hired said mistress for a position in the football program. Petrino was fired shortly thereafter.
  • In August 2020, President Donald Trump tweeted that he never "went to Walter Reed Medical Center, having suffered a series of mini-strokes". Until that moment, no one had mentioned any strokes.
  • The main reason why Athens and Sparta are remembered is, apart for their vital role in the Greco-Persian Wars, for their rivalry, which led to The Peloponnesian War. However, if you ask any modern Athenian, they will make sure that they have nothing against Sparta and that they get along pretty well nowadays. Same goes if you ask a modern Spartan.


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