Earlier this month, AI-generated images in which Hobby Lobby is depicted as selling demonic statues caused confusion among customers and fans of the Christian-owned arts and crafts store.
Vinyard posted realistic images of the demonic god Baphomet appearing to be sold in Hobby Lobby stores, labeling the post with the caption: “I think we need to talk about what is going on at Hobby Lobby…won’t somebody please think of the children!?”
The post was shared more than 6,000 times, garnering over a hundred comments before Facebook turned off commenting—but not before it created confusion for Hobby Lobby enthusiasts and supporters.
One commenter, who knew the images were fake, said, “Hobby Lobby is gonna get cancelled if people believe these are real.”
“I couldn’t believe how many likes and shares the photos got,” Vinyard told Motherboard Tech by VICE. “I’ve read so many comments that cracked me up, mostly from the people who thought they were real and were super angry. I even got some mean Messenger messages from them.”
Vinyard shared how easy it was to create the images, explaining that the “prompt was actually very simple, it was something along the lines of ‘Hobby Lobby selling Satanic products.’”
Adding that the images only took approximately 10 minutes to create, Vinyard said, “I’m actually a little embarrassed that they weren’t better…If I knew they were going to blow up the way they did, I would have spent more time on them.”
When asked why she created the images, Vineyard told the VICE-owned website, “I just thought it would be funny to use the Satanic décor, since Hobby Lobby pretends to be a Christian store.”
Hobby Lobby was founded by the Green family in 1972 and has long been known for voicing conservative Christian belief and values during interviews, through social media, and even in ads. Similar to the popular Christian-owned restaurant chain Chick-fil-A, Hobby Lobby is closed on Sundays. In fact, one of the Green family members, Steve, founded the Museum of the Bible in 2017.
Although the post was uploaded to a private AI Facebook group, the fake images made their way throughout social media and had people questioning whether they were real.