Photo of a kneeling Joe Biden circulating on social media with a false claim
Sanjog Shiwakoti / January 5, 2021
An image of US President-elect Joe Biden kneeling in front of a child has been widely shared by Nepali social media users over the past few days. The photo has been shared by many on Facebook and Twitter with the following text [originally in Nepali]: “US President-elect Joe Biden is apologizing to the daughter of George Floyd, who was killed by US police.”
The video of the fatal arrest of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, by US police on May 25, 2020, had gone viral on social media. Following the incident, anti-racism rallies were held in various US cities despite the coronavirus fears. The protests also spread to other countries including the United Kingdom.
The claim on social media that Biden apologized to Floyd’s daughter is false. The photo, posted on Biden’s official Instagram page on September 15, 2020, does not mention if the girl is Floyd’s daughter or that he had apologized. On November 3, 2020, former US First Lady Michelle Obama also shared on Twitter the photo, which was taken during the presidential election campaign. The photo shared by the former US first lady, however, does not make the false claim.
The photo and claim shared by the Facebook page “Routines of Nepal Banda” has been shared 58 times and has received more than 1,300 responses. Similarly, the same claim shared by one Christina Puri’s Twitter handle has been retweeted 15 times and has received 171 responses. The photo has also been shared on the official Facebook page of Ujyaalo Radio Network. Like them, many other pages and social media users have also shared the image and the false claim.
South Asia Check conducted a ‘reverse image search’ of the photo and found the original version of the photo on the website of the international photo agency Getty Images. The photo, posted on Getty Images website was taken by photographer Chip Somodevilla in Detroit, Michigan, on September 9, 2020. The caption on the photo mentioned Joe Biden kneels to chat with CJ Brown while shopping at Three Thirteen, an apparel store. Along with the photo, Getty Images has also published Biden’s picture with CJ Brown’s father Clement Brown taken by Somodevilla.
Another image posted on Getty Images taken by AFP photographer Jim Watson shows Clement Brown standing behind a kneeling Joe Biden. According to various photographs taken at the time and the captions mentioned there, the child Biden was speaking to was not George Floyd’s daughter but son of Clement Brown, the owner of Three Thirteen store.
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