Is Michelle Obama the new face of Versace Cosmetics? No, that's not true: This story originated from a satire website which publishes stories designed to troll conservatives.
The claim originated from an article (archived here) where it was published by PotatriotsUnite.com on December 8, 2019, under the title "Michelle Obama Is The New Face of Versace Cosmetics". It opened:
Being one of the most famous and successful women in the world seems to open new opportunities every day for former first lady Michelle Obama. Already the author of a bestselling memoir, a contract holder with mega-company Victoria's Secret, and operator of her own cruise fleet of luxury hovercraft, Mrs. O could easily buy or sell any boomer teabagger fantasizing that she is a man because of mental dumbassery.
Now, Obama has signed a contract with fashion giant Versace to be the face of their cosmetic line, which was discontinued in 2009. Although the products no longer exist, the American diva will be the public face of them, because trumphumping banana-choked dumpermonkeys will absolutely be upset by it, as they are when any woman of color finds fortune. Notice there's no "u" in the word "color", Bob.
Although PotatriotsUnite.com claims on their about page that everything on this website is fiction, they have included at least one actual fact in this story - that the Versace cosmetics line was indeed discontinued in 2009. The part about Victoria's Secret is a self-referential nod to an earlier satire story from another one of the ALLOD network sites. "Michelle Obama To Be New Face of Victoria's Secret" was published by Obamawatcher.com in October of 2019. Lead Stories explained that hoax in this fact-check.
PotatriotsUnite is part of the "America's Last Line of Defense" network of satire websites run by self-professed liberal troll Christopher Blair from Maine 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 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.
An example of a real fake news site copying one of Blair's stories is (archived here). Blackamericannews.com published the satirical Victoria's Secret story on December 7, 2019, without any of the original disclaimers. Blackamerican.news is one of many websites from a plagiarizing publisher based in Pakistan who is targeting American audiences. Facebook has now blocked all links to Blackamerican.news, but links to many other websites from this publisher are still present on the platform.
Here is a video of Blair explaining how his process works:
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 potatriotsunite.com 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 potatriotsunite.com before. Here are our most recent articles that mention the site:
- Fake News: NOT Due to Impeachment, Pelosi Did NOT Halt Trump's Presidential Salary
- Fake News: Don Imus Did NOT Leave $2 Million To Trump's Re-Election Campaign In His Will
- Fake News: Impeachment Begins - Pelosi Did NOT Order President Confined To White House
- Fake News: Pelosi DID NOT Say Dems Will 'Shut It All Down' If They Don't Get Their Way On Impeachment
- Fake News: Pelosi Did NOT Have Health Department Close Trump Plaza Hotel