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Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke August 30, 2023

Social media posts spread unfounded rumors about Obamas, their late personal chef Tafari Campbell

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  • We found no evidence to support this claim. The drowning death of Tafari Campbell, the Obamas’ personal chef, was ruled accidental. 

The recent drowning death of the Obama family’s personal chef, Tafari Campbell, was ruled an accident by the chief medical examiner of Massachusetts, where Campbell’s body was found off the coast after he was seen struggling in the water while paddleboarding.

That hasn’t stopped unfounded conspiracy theories suggesting that former President Barack Obama or his wife, Michelle Obama, are behind Campbell’s death.  

"Michelle Obama accidentally reveals what really happened to their chef," an Aug. 27 Facebook post says.  

This post was flagged as part of Meta’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

A narrator in a video in the post says that in a recent interview, Michelle Obama "might’ve accidentally dropped a hint that’s left jaws on the floor." 

"During a candid conversation, Michelle Obama was discussing various aspects of her life when she made a comment that’s raising eyebrows," the narrator says. "It’s all about their personal chef, Tafari Campbell, and the circumstances surrounding his unfortunate passing."

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The narrator then says: "Now we’ve got to stress that this is all speculative and should be taken with a grain of caution."   

So what did Obama say? 

"As Michelle was reflecting on her experiences, she casually mentioned how important trust and secrecy were in their circle. She mentioned that sometimes, information that’s meant to stay hidden could be a matter of life and death."  

The video never says when or where Obama supposedly made these comments. We looked for news reports or other credible sources to corroborate this post’s claims and found none. 

On Aug. 3, she posted photos of Campbell on Facebook and said: "I will miss you my friend, Tafari … the emptiness is hard. But I promise to stay strong, keep living, and honor your legacy in every way possible. Rest in peace, my brother."

We rate claims she revealed "what really happened" to Campbell False.


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Social media posts spread unfounded rumors about Obamas, their late personal chef Tafari Campbell

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