Fact check: Image of Ben Shapiro tweet about Columbus Day manipulated

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Fact check: Image of Ben Shapiro tweet about Columbus Day manipulated
© Junfu Han, Detroit Free Press Ben Shapiro speaks at the Rackham Auditorium on U-M central campus in Ann Arbor, Tuesday, March 12. , Tuesday, March 12, 2019.

The claim: Photo shows Ben Shapiro tweet about Columbus Day and wife’s separate bedroom

Thousands of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Reddit users reacted to a screenshot of a purported Oct. 11 tweet in which conservative commentator Ben Shapiro seemed to mock Indigenous Peoples’ Day and indicate that he and his wife slept in separate bedrooms.

“My daughter woke me up this morning and asked me what day it was,” the tweet reads. “I asked, ‘Is it Columbus Day?’ She replied: ‘YEP!’ She then went into my wife’s bedroom and asked her the same question. I couldn’t be prouder.”

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Liberal influencer Peter Scattini posted the most popular instance of the photo in an Oct. 12 tweet, garnering over 3,000 total retweets and 27,000 likes. Left-wing Facebook pages and groups Commissar GrittyTrump Supporters Speak and Trump Cartoons and Jokes also shared the photo on Oct. 12. 

Some Facebook, Instagram and Twitter users ridiculed the bedroom reference, while others came out in defense of sleeping separately from a partner. 

The tweet, however, is a fake.

More: What is Indigenous Peoples’ Day? Does it replace Columbus Day? Everything you need to know

Searches of Shapiro’s tweets as well as archives show he didn’t post the tweet on Oct. 11.

Fact check: Fake Ben Shapiro tweet about sharing cupcakes as a child is satirical

USA TODAY reached out to Scattini and several Facebook users who shared the post for comment.

Fact check: Image of Ben Shapiro tweet about Columbus Day manipulated
© Grand Canyon University Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro delivers a lecture at Grand Canyon University on April 10, 2019.

Shapiro never posted tweet

Dated Oct. 11, the tweet seems to draw on Shapiro’s criticism of President Joe Biden’s recent commemoration of Indigenous Peoples’ Day, which falls on the same day as Columbus Day. However, there’s no evidence Shapiro posted a tweet containing that message. 

“Of course it’s fake,” Shapiro told USA TODAY in an email.

Time-stamped snapshots of Shapiro’s Twitter account on Oct. 11 show he didn’t post the tweet in the photo that day. Searches of his yearslong Twitter history also turned up no results for the tweet. 

The photo first appeared in an Oct. 11 Reddit post on the left-wing forum r/ToiletPaperUSA, according to Lead Stories. While the post now features a label designating it as “fake news,” the post did not include that label initially, according to Wayback Machine archives.

Fact check: Image claiming to show 2016 Ted Cruz tweet on climate change and Texas is fabricated

Comment discussions on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter suggest that many users viewed the tweet as authentic. Some mocked Shapiro for the fake tweet’s mention of his “wife’s bedroom,” but many others advocated for “sleep divorce,” the practice of sleeping in a separate bedroom from one’s partner. 

More: Most would rather sleep in their own bed than with their partner

“I’m not a fan of his, but why try to shame adults who choose separate rooms?” @aleksical replied to Scattini’s tweet. “There are many reasons, none of which are anyone’s business.” 

Our rating: Altered

Based on our research, we rate ALTERED a photo claiming to show a Ben Shapiro tweet about his “wife’s bedroom” and Columbus Day. According to several searches of Twitter and web archives, Shapiro never sent this tweet.

Our fact-check sources:

  • Ben Shapiro, Oct. 21, Email exchange with USA TODAY
  • The Ben Shapiro Show via Youtube, Oct. 11, Yes, Happy Columbus Day
  • Wayback Machine, accessed Oct. 19, Twitter.com/benshapiro overview
  • Twitter Advanced Search, Oct. 12
  • Lead Stories, Oct. 14, Fact Check: Ben Shapiro Did NOT Tweet About His ‘Wife’s Bedroom’ In Columbus Day Message — It’s A Fake Tweet
  • r/ToiletPaperUSA, Oct. 11, Reddit post (archived here)
  • Peter Scattini, Oct. 12, Tweet
  • Peter Scattini, Oct. 12, Tweet
  • Yiftach Ofek, Oct. 12, Tweet
  • @aleksical, Oct. 12, Tweet
  • Kate Nash, Oct. 12, Tweet
  • USA TODAY, March 30, Fake Ben Shapiro tweet about sharing cupcakes as a child is satirical
  • USA TODAY, Feb. 21, Image claiming to show 2016 Ted Cruz tweet on climate change and Texas is fabricated

Thank you for supporting our journalism. You can subscribe to our print edition, ad-free app or electronic newspaper replica here.

Our fact-check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Image of Ben Shapiro tweet about Columbus Day manipulated

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