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Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke January 23, 2023

Greta Thunberg is often in the spotlight but not because she’s a ‘crisis actor’

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  • There’s no evidence to support this claim. 

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg was recently detained in Lutzerath, Germany, while protesting against a coal-mining operation, and some of the 20-year-old’s detractors have used footage from that day to underpin false claims about her. 

We previously debunked an Instagram post that said Thunberg staged what it called her "arrest." 

Another post featuring a video clip of her detention describes her as a "child puppet" and "#crisisactor."

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 Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

In the clip, Thunberg can be seen standing, flanked by two police officers who hold her arms before walking her away. 

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Claudia Suthor, a spokesperson for the Aachen police in Germany, told PolitiFact that Thunberg, among other protesters detained, was required to give her information to officers before she was released. 

Suthor said the event was not orchestrated: "We are not the extras for the staging of Greta Thunberg."

Christian Wernicke, a journalist who was reporting on the protest for German news outlet Süddeutsche Zeitung, told the BBC that Thunberg wasn’t the first protester police detained and that officers were "deciding how they would proceed with the identity check and waiting to take Greta to the police vehicle."

There’s no evidence to support the claim that Thunberg, who first drew attention in 2018 for regularly skipping school to protest outside the Swedish parliament to encourage more action against climate change, is a crisis actor. Nor did we find anything to corroborate earlier claims that she’s a trained actor

We rate this post False.


Our Sources

Instagram post, Jan. 22, 2023

The Washington Post, Police stuck in mud, Greta Thunberg detained at coal protest in Germany, Jan. 17, 2023

BBC, Greta Thunberg: German police deny protest detainment was staged, Jan. 18, 2023

PolitiFact, Photos reveal Greta Thunberg is a trained actress who comes from a long line of actors, April 22, 2021

PolitiFact, Climate activist Greta Thunberg didn’t stage her recent detention in Germany, police say, Jan. 19, 2023

Reuters, Timeline: Greta Thunberg's rise from lone protester to Nobel favorite, Oct. 3, 2019

Email interview with Claudia Suthor, Polizei Aachen, Kreispolizeibehörde Rhein-Kreis Neuss, Jan. 19, 2023


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Greta Thunberg is often in the spotlight but not because she’s a ‘crisis actor’

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