Fake News: Photo Did NOT Show Pete Buttigieg Posing In Leather Bodysuit

Fact Check

  • by: Ryan Cooper

STORY UPDATED: check for updates below.

Fake News: Photo Did NOT Show Pete Buttigieg Posing In Leather Bodysuit

Does a photo show Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg posing in a leather bodysuit with two other men? No, that's not true: The picture has been doctored using photo-editing tools. The real person has been swapped out with the head of the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana.

The image originated from a meme (archived here) published by John Wirtanen on February 11, 2020. It opened:

This is the guy who want to negotiate with our enemies.

Users on social media saw this:

The meme was shared on a Facebook fan page for a conservative pundit on One America News Network (OANN), a far-right news and opinion channel. (That pundit is not affiliated with the page.)

A reverse image search of the photo confirms it has been doctored. The head of Buttigieg on the fake meme is disproportionate in size to the real man's head. Here is the actual individual who posed for the picture:


Buttigieg, who finished high in the Iowa Caucus and the New Hampshire primary, is the first openly-gay candidate for U.S. president. Three years after the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in 2015, Buttigieg married his husband, Chasten Glezman.


  • 2020-02-13T06:20:43Z 2020-02-13T06:20:43Z
    We updated the post to note that the Facebook page on which this meme was posted is a fan site that is not affiliated with the pundit.

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  Ryan Cooper

Ryan Cooper, a staff writer and fact-checker for Lead Stories, is the former Director of Programming at CNN International, where he helped shape the network's daily newscasts broadcast to more than 280 million households around the world. He was based at the network's Los Angeles Bureau. There, he managed the team responsible for a three-hour nightly program, Newsroom LA.

Formerly, he worked at the headquarters in Atlanta, and he spent four years at the London bureau. An award-winning producer, Cooper oversaw the network's Emmy Award-winning coverage of the uprising in Egypt in 2011. He also served as a supervising producer during much of the network's live reporting on the Israel-Hezbollah conflict in 2006, for which CNN received an Edward R. Murrow Award.

Read more about or contact Ryan Cooper

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