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- John F. Kennedy Jr. isn’t alive, or the person behind anonymous messages that spurred the QAnon movement. He died in a plane crash in 1999.
John F. Kennedy Jr., the son of former President John F. Kennedy who, like his father, died young, has made several appearances in PolitiFact’s fact-checks over the years.
We’ve debunked claims that he’s the father of former White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, that he once publicly championed a Donald Trump presidency, that President Joe Biden plotted to kidnap him, and that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is responsible for his death.
None of that is true, and neither is a new claim being shared on Facebook: that Kennedy is alive, and that he’s Q, the author of anonymous message board postings that have grown into the QAnon movement.
"The prince of America is back," reads the text over an image of Kennedy shared on Facebook on March 24.
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.)
Kennedy, his wife and his sister-in-law were killed in a plane crash on July 16, 1999. Kennedy, then the founder and publisher of George magazine, was piloting a single-engine Piper Saratoga when it plunged into the Atlantic Ocean.
The National Transportation Safety Board determined that the crash probably happened after Kennedy, who was inexperienced at flying his plane alone at night, became disoriented in haze.
Their bodies were recovered in seas southwest of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, on July 21, 1999 after a recovery team of Navy divers searched the ocean floor for about 18 hours, the Washington Post reported at the time. Kennedy’s body was found in the cockpit, still strapped to his seat.
His cremated remains were scattered at sea.
Now in present day, the New York Times reported in February that separate teams of computer scientists identified the two men as the likely authors of anonymous QAnon messages. Their names: Paul Furber, one of the first online commentators to draw attention to the messages, and Ron Watkins, who ran a website where the messages started appearing in 2018. Both have denied that they are Q.
But we know it’s not the late JFK Jr.
We rate this post Pants on Fire.
Facebook post, March 24, 2022
The New York Times, Who Is Behind QAnon? Linguistic Detectives Find Fingerprints, Feb. 19, 2022
The Washington Post, Bodies of Kennedy, Bessettes Brought to Shore, July 22, 1999
CNN, Remains of JFK Jr., wife and sister-in-law buried at sea, July 22, 1999
The New York Times, Safety board blames pilot error in crash in Kennedy plane, July 7, 2000
The New York Times, Bodies from Kennedy crash are found, July 22, 1999
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