Who is the Harmless Scout Leader
Just a man, a man in a Boy Scouts of America uniform. A man with maybe a little bit of an intense, creepy facial expression. A man who has, and we absolutely can not stress this enough, done nothing wrong.
A photo of this noble educator and mentor to our children is now the central focus of what has become known as the "Harmless Scout Leader" meme. The first post is believed to have appeared on Reddit on April 25, 2011, courtesy of a user named GrandadsLadyFriend.
It's a classic "bait-and-switch" series of Image Macros, relying largely on inappropriate sexual innuendo. A phrase or sentence at the top of the photo implies that the man depicted is a pedophile preying on the young boys in his care. The lower text, of course, reveals that the man is completely innocent of any wrongdoing, and provides a perfectly reasonable explanation for the suggestive opening.
That is one way to put it, yes.
After a few weeks, interest in the Harmless Scout Leader seemed to wane, along with some of the other "bait-and-switch" meme favorites (such as Successful Black Man and Rasta Science Teacher). In their place were a variety of new memes - such as Sheltering Suburban Mother - favoring social satire over puns and innuendo.
Some members of the Advice Animals community on Reddit, the original birthplace of the meme, even took to the site to request more HSL submissions.
Sometimes it can be really hard...to deal with change.