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Samantha Putterman
By Samantha Putterman January 8, 2021

No, the Simpsons didn’t predict the Capitol riots. Those images are edited

If Your Time is short

  • A photo shows Simpsons character Groundskeeper Willie dressed in the exact same horned garb as a costume donned by one of the Pro-Trump rioters who breached the building. The photo is doctored.

After almost every major news event, rumors tend to circulate online that claim "The Simpsons," somehow predicted whatever it was that happened.

It’s not like the animated TV show has never predicted the future — it has — a number of times, including Donald Trump’s election. But it didn’t foretell what happened on Jan. 6 at the U.S. Capitol, as some social media posts claim.

"The Simpsons did it again," said one viral Facebook post that features an image of the show’s character Groundskeeper Willie waving an American flag at the Capitol building dressed in the exact same horned garb as a costume donned by one of the Pro-Trump rioters who breached the building.

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.)

The photo taken inside the Capitol building on Jan. 6 shows Jake Angeli, a Trump supporter and well-known QAnon conspiracy theorist.

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But the photo of the horned Groundskeeper Willie is edited.

First, it’s clear that, in an uncropped version of the photo, which shows that Willie is joined by the Simpson’s family at an animated Capitol building, that the characters were pasted onto the background.

Second, this image of Willie has not appeared in any Simpsons episode. Willie has never been seen in any horned helmet, tattoos or American flag. The image of Willie used in this post showing the character with his arm raised appears to come from the Simpsons Tapped Out mobile game, as many pointed out online. In it, his upper body shows no tattoos and his red hair is unfettered by any headdress.

No matter how badly you may have wanted this to be true, it’s not. Pants on Fire!

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More by Samantha Putterman

No, the Simpsons didn’t predict the Capitol riots. Those images are edited

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