Did actor Denzel Washington break with the Democrat party? No, that's not true. The story was published by a liberal satire website that tries to educate gullible Trump supporters and Republicans about the need to actually click and read links before sharing or liking them in order to avoid being embarrassed by fans of the site later. All the events described in the article are not real.
The story originated from an article published by BustaTroll.org on February 22, 2019 titled "BREAKING: Denzel Washington Leaves Democrat Party: 'I've Had it With the Lies'" (archived here) which opened:
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 Democrats are just liars. I mean...I've seen it. They make Facebook pages and write fake stories with sensational headlines to prove conservatives don't research, which is preposterous. The liberals are the ones who can't do facts.
The fact is, my brothers like R. Kelly and Jussie Smollett are showing the true nature of our society and how out of control it is. I mean...We're letting kids listen to music older people might not like and encouraging them to dress, speak, and act like their opinion matters. What we say goes, kids. Sit down."
Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail:
A great actor and now a Trump supporter through and through.
Denzel Washington is a devout Christian and while he did make some statements in an interview last year which could have been interpreted as vaguely pro-Trump and lukewarm on Obama he did not say any of the things attributed to him in the BustaTroll article:
The Magazine Interview: Denzel Washington on prejudice, black power and why America needs to get behind President Trump
We're in a high-rise New York hotel room. Outside is bitter cold. Denzel Washington is wearing an exquisitely tailored black suit and has neatly coiffed hair, very much the opposite of how I've just seen him in his new film, Roman J Israel, Esq. It's about a lawyer who is weirdly brilliant and also just weird.
The site is part of the "America's Last Line of Defense" network of satire websites run byself-professed liberal troll Christopher Blair from Maine and his partner in crime John Prager along with a loose confederation of friends and allies. Blair has been in a feud with fact checking website Snopes for some time now and has also criticized other fact checkers in the past who labeled his work "fake news" instead of satire. In reaction to this he has recently rebranded all his active websites and Facebook pages so they carry extremely visible disclaimers everywhere.
Every site in the network has an about page that reads (in part):
Before you complain and decide satire is synonymous with "comedy":
The use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people's stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.
Everything on this website is fiction. It is not a lie and it is not fake news because it is not real. If you believe that it is real, you should have your head examined. Any similarities between this site's pure fantasy and actual people, places, and events are purely coincidental and all images should be considered altered and satirical. See above if you're still having an issue with that satire thing.
Articles from Blair's sites frequently get copied by "real" fake news sites who often omit the satire disclaimer and any other hints the stories are fake. Blair has tried to get these sites shut down in the past but new ones keep cropping up.
Blair and his operation were profiled by the Washington Post on November 17, 2018 by Eli Saslow:
November 17 The only light in the house came from the glow of three computer monitors, and Christopher Blair, 46, sat down at a keyboard and started to type. His wife had left for work and his children were on their way to school, but waiting online was his other community, an unreality where nothing was exactly as it seemed.
If you are interested in learning more about Blair and the history of his sites, here is something to get you started:
STORY UPDATED: check for updates below. Yesterday Eli Saslow at the Washington Post wrote a fantastic article about Christopher Blair, a man from Maine who has been trolling conservatives and Trump supporters online for years and occasionally even made a living out of it.
If you see one of his stories on a site that does not contain a satire disclaimer, assume it is fake news. If you do see the satire disclaimer it is of course also fake news.
NewsGuard, a company that uses trained journalist to rank the reliability of websites, describes bustatroll.org as:
A site that publishes false stories and hoaxes that are often mistaken for real news, part of a network named America's Last Line of Defense run by hoax perpetrator Christopher Blair.
According to NewsGuard the site does not maintain basic standards of accuracy and accountability. Read their full assessment here.
We wrote about bustatroll.org before, here are our most recent articles that mention the site:
- Fake News: Trump DID NOT Invoke 25th Amendment to Expel Nancy Pelosi for Mental Health Reasons
- Fake News: Judge Jeanine Pirro Did NOT Take a Job Consulting for the White House
- Fake News: NBC Did NOT Finally Pull The Plug - Saturday Night Live NOT Canceled
- Fake News: Supreme Court Did NOT Rule National Emergency Order 'Within the Powers of the POTUS'
- Fake News: RNC Office That Held Clinton Evidence NOT Burned To The Ground