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Loreben Tuquero
By Loreben Tuquero March 29, 2023

Evidence does not show Barack Obama had a boyfriend or paid ‘hush money’

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  • This photo shows former president Barack Obama and his friend at a college dinner hosted by a student group. There is no evidence the two were ever romantically involved, and no proof Obama paid hush money.

The potential indictment of former President Donald Trump for his role in a hush money payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels is prompting some social media users to compare how other former presidents handled past relationships.

"No one had a problem when Obama paid hush money to a old boyfriend," read the text on a  March 24 video posted on Instagram. The video included a photo of Obama seated next to a man. 

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.)

We found no evidence to support the claim. We found no news reports, statements or allegations about a hush money payment from Obama to a male lover.

The photo shows Obama and his friend at a college dinner hosted by a student group, according to the caption on the 1981 image from Getty Images. The friend is identified in the caption as Hasan Chandoo, and the photo was taken at Occidental College in Los Angeles. 

Multiple reports mention Chandoo as one of the Pakistani friends Obama made while attending Occidental College.

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There has been speculation that Obama and Chandoo were more than friends, but it was reported by an outlet with a track record for misinformation. There is no credible reporting that says they were romantically involved. 

We found reports about Obama’s former girlfriends before he married Michelle, including Alexandra McNear, a woman from Occidental College with whom he reconnected in New York in 1982.

Obama’s friendship with Chandoo has been conducted in public. 

A search of government sites showed that Chandoo was among the expected attendees for White House dinners celebrating Ramadan in 2009 and 2010

Reports show that Chandoo donated to Obama’s 2008 election campaign and joined an Asian-American council that supported Obama’s presidential run. Chandoo was also listed on Obama’s campaign website as one of the top fundraisers, and was reported to have attended Obama’s wedding in 1992.

Bill Burton, Obama’s former deputy press secretary, also said in 2008 that Obama spent about three weeks traveling in Pakistan and stayed in Karachi with Chandoo’s family.

We rate the claim that a photo shows Obama’s "old boyfriend," to whom he paid "hush money" Pants on Fire!

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Evidence does not show Barack Obama had a boyfriend or paid ‘hush money’

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