On the same day Emma González made a powerful speech at the March For Our Lives rally in Washington, a bogus photo and GIF of the Parkland survivor tearing the U.S. Constitution in two went viral among American right-wingers.
This includes “Firefly” actor and conservative Adam Baldwin, who once compared gay marriage to incest.
It is unclear where the fake content originated, but the image and GIF were posted with racist file names to a political thread on 4chan on Saturday.
It is clear, however, that they were doctored from a Teen Vogue cover story about the march. In the original animation, González is seen ripping up a gun-target poster typically seen at shooting ranges.
Phillip Picardi, Teen Vogue’s chief content officer, set the record straight in a series of tweets Saturday, shortly after the fake images went viral.
“The fact that we even have to clarify this is proof of how democracy continues to be fractured by people who manipulate and fabricate the truth,” Picardi wrote on Twitter.
González and a handful of other Marjory Stoneman Douglas students who have been vocal about gun control policy reform have previously been plagued by false conspiracy theories.
Just a week after a gunman armed with an assault-style rifle attacked their South Florida high school on Feb. 14 and killed 17 people, a phony video claiming that survivor David Hogg was an actor reached No. 1 on YouTube’s trending page.
A recent study by researchers at the University of Southern California found that conservatives retweeted Russian bots during the 2016 presidential election 31 times more often than liberals and produced 36 times more tweets, which might explain why sham images, GIFs and videos such as these tend to go viral.
Baldwin attempts to articulate why the GIF still exists on his Twitter account, chalking it up to “political satire.”