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- This photo has been online for months in connection with reports of British men exploiting children in Gambia.
- A spokesperson for Chuck Schumer said the man in the image is “absolutely not” the senator.
Conspiracy theories that powerful people across the world are part of a sinister cabal that trafficks children thrive online, and the latest purported evidence in these unfounded ideas is an image of a man kissing a child.
In social media posts, the man is identified as Chuck Schumer, the minority leader of the U.S. Senate. The posts claim Schumer was pictured on the private island of the late financier Jeffrey Epstein. (Epstein was arrested on sex trafficking charges before killing himself in custody.)
"Chuck Schumer kissing this child on Epstein island," reads the description of the image, which shows a white shirtless man in glasses kissing a young Black girl in a swimsuit. "The VEIL has lifted!"
The 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.)
A spokesperson for Schumer told us it is "absolutely not" the Democratic senator from New York.
We don’t know what’s happening in this photo, or when and where it was taken.
But it’s been online for months. Only now are people suggesting that it shows Schumer in a compromising situation.
We found it posted five months ago on Picuki, a site that lets you browse Instagram photos. The post also features a French translation of a Jan. 17 article about Gambian children "being sold to British pedeophiles."
The photo in question does not appear with the story.
On Jan. 21, though, a tweet from an account that describes itself as a "Civil Rights & Pan African organization to unite all people of African descent worldwide" shared the image and said: "One of the British pedophile abusing children in Gambia."
On the same day, a Facebook account called Focus On Gambia also posted the image, writing that "the government of Gambia must take legal action against pedophiles in Gambia." (In the comments of this post, some users question whether the photo was actually taken in Gambia.)
But we unearthed nothing to support that the image recirculating on social media shows Schumer or that the photo was taken on Epstein’s island.
We rate this post False.
Facebook post, July 17, 2020
Vanity Fair, The horrors of Jeffrey Epstein’s private island, July 20, 2019
Picuki post, five months ago
Fdesouche.com, Dépendante du tourisme, la Gambie est devenue un paradis pour pédophiles européens avec la complaisance des autorités, Jan. 19, 2020
Facebook post, Jan. 21, 2020
Tweet, Jan. 21, 2020
Business Insider, Here are all the politicians Jeffrey Epstein, the money manager arrested on charges of sex trafficking, has donated to, July 11, 2019
The Daily Caller, Schumer donates the total amount given to him by Epstein to anti-human trafficking charity, July 10, 2019
Email interview with Justin Goodman, communications director, U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, July 17, 2020
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