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- The claims arise from an interview with Harris on the radio show "The Breakfast Club"
- A Harris spokesperson and one of the show's hosts said she was answering a question about her musical tastes, not what she listened to in college.
Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris was on the radio show "The Breakfast Club" in 2019 when she said she smoked marijuana when she was in college.
The senator from California had announced her own presidential candidacy the previous month, and the interview, which included questions about her musical tastes, quickly became fodder for political pundits.
It also spawned Facebook posts like this one, which shows photos of Harris and the rappers Snoop Dogg and Tupac Shakur.
"Kamala Harris says she smoked weed in college while listening to Tupac & Snoop," the post says. "She graduated in 1986. Snoop’s first album — 1993. Tupac’s first album — 1991."
This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
But, as the New York Times details, what Harris said during the radio interview is less clear than the Facebook post lets on.
"Ms. Harris’s campaign vehemently denies that she ever claimed to be listening to Tupac and Snoop Dogg while in college," the Times reported.
You can watch the interview here. Here’s a synopsis:
One of the show’s hosts, Charlamagne tha God, asked Harris if she had ever smoked marijuana. Harris said she had.
Later the interview pivoted toward music. She had earlier named Tupac and Snoop Dogg as two favorite artists.
Around the 38-minute mark, another of the show’s hosts, D.J. Envy, asked: "What does Kamala Harris listen to?"
Before Harris could answer, Charlamagne tha God interjected and asked her about what she listened to while she smoked in college.
"What were you listening to when you was high?" Charlamagne tha God said. "What was on? What song was on?"
Then D.J. Envy said: "Was it Snoop?"
"Oh yeah, definitely Snoop," Harris said. "Tupac for sure."
"What do you listen to now, what’s your favorite hip-hop artist now?" D.J. Envy said.
"You know who I really love is Cardi B," Harris said.
It’s unclear which of the questions Harris is answering: what music she listens to, or what she listened to while smoking.
Ian Sams, Harris’ spokesperson at the time, tweeted that it "really isn’t that complicated."
"The rightwing is so desperate to attack @KamalaHarris they’re trying to make Reefergate happen," he said. "@djenvy asked what she listened to. @cthagod made a pot joke. Then she answered @djenvy’s question."
D.J. Envy agreed with this. Appearing on MSNBC, he said: "I asked what she listens to, and she said she listens to Snoop Dogg and Tupac. At the same time, my co-host was talking about marijuana. … But she was actually answering me and people took it as she was answering Charlamagne, and said she was lying, which is not true."
Facebook post, Aug. 11, 2020
Facebook post, Feb. 12, 2019
The New York Times, Kamala Harris is accused of lying about listening to Tupac. Here’s what happened, Feb. 13, 2019
Los Angeles Times, A political awakening: How Howard University shaped Kamala Harris’ identity, March 19, 2019
Britannica, Tupac Shakur, visited Aug. 19, 2020
Britannica, Snoop Dogg, visited Aug. 19, 2020
The Breakfast Club, Kamala Harris talkies 2020 presidential run, legalizing marijuana, criminal justice reform + more, Feb. 11, 2019
Ian Sams tweet Feb. 12, 2019