Stand up for the facts!
Misinformation isn't going away just because it's a new year. Support trusted, factual information with a tax deductible contribution to PolitiFact.
I would like to contribute
If Your Time is short
- This originated on a website that describes itself as satire.
Misinformation that spreads on social media often stars the actor Denzel Washington. In 2016, for example, we wrote about a fabricated story that said Washington backed Donald Trump "in the most epic way." In 2018, we debunked a claim that Washington praised Trump for avoiding a war with Russia.
Now, a screenshot being shared on Instagram claims: "Denzel Washington leaves Democrat Party: ‘I’ve had it with the lies’."
Some people commenting on the Instagram post applauded Washington’s move. Others wondered if it was real. It’s not.
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.)
Text below an image of the actor in the Instagram post says: "Denzel Washington, who has never stepped outside the realm of acting to engage in politics, has taken a stand. It won’t be very popular with Democrats. In an interview with America’s Last Line of Defense, Denzel said that he couldn’t handle the constant lies and that he’s turning his attention to helping team Trump."
The actor "did not say this to any publication," Alan Nierob, a representative for Washington, told Reuters in March.
The post traces back to a story published in 2019 on bustatroll.org, which describes itself as a satire site and is connected to a similar site, "America’s Last Line of Defense."
Washington has been private about his politics. In 2016, he told reporters that it was none of their business who he supported in the presidential election. That year, he also criticized a fabricated story that said he had switched his support from then-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to Trump.
According to OpenSecrets’ database of political donations, Washington has donated to Barack Obama, Clinton and the Democratic National Committee.
But he didn’t make the statements that appear in the Instagram post.
We rate it Pants on Fire.
Instagram post, June 23, 2021
PolitiFact, Fake story says Denzel Washington supports Donald Trump, Nov. 16, 2021
PolitiFact, No, Denzel Washington didn’t praise Trump for averting war with Russia, April 24, 2021
Blog post, Feb. 22, 2019
YouTube, Denzel: ‘None of your business’ who I voted for, Dec. 12, 2016
The Hill, Denzel Washingont blasts media for selling ‘BS,’ Dec. 6, 2016
The Hollywood Reporter, Denzel Washington talks Obama presidency, fake news at San Francisco ‘Fences’ premiere, Dec. 16, 2016
OpenSecrets, Denzel Washington donations, visited June 24, 2021
Read About Our Process
In a world of wild talk and fake news, help us stand up for the facts.