Fact Check: Video Of A Person In A Body Bag Smoking A Cigarette Is NOT A COVID-19 Deception -- It's A Music Video

Fact Check

  • by: Sarah Thompson
Fact Check: Video Of A Person In A Body Bag Smoking A Cigarette Is NOT A COVID-19 Deception -- It's A Music Video Music Video

Did someone stage a grim scene: an open dump truck piled high with corpses in body bags, to present a false narrative about the COVID-19 pandemic? And was this staged scene revealed to be fake because a video captured one of the "dead bodies" smoking a cigarette? No, that's not true: This video clip was shot during the filming of the "Never Ever" music video by the Siberian artist Dmitry "Husky" Kuznetsov in Moscow. This behind-the-scenes clip does show an actor wrapped in black plastic smoking a cigarette as crew members arrange other plastic-wrapped human forms in the truck's bed. The music video is not about COVID-19. The finished music video does end with a scene of the loaded dump truck pulling away, but the final cut does not include a scene similar to the shot presented on social media posts.

Claims surrounding various clips of the mysterious plastic-wrapped bodies have been circulating on social media since September 2020 and have surfaced again. One post (archived here) was published by Plexus Radio Network on April 2, 2021. The video clip was captioned:

You're Watching A Movie 🍿Covid bodies...one of the dead bodies is smoking a cigarette. 🐸 Are you awake, yet?
🦅🇺🇸 #Depopulation #CrimesAgaistHumanity #Agenda2030 #Agenda2045 #DonaldTrump #Alliance #Q #Trump #Covid19 #Coronavirus

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

Facebook screenshot

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Wed Apr 7 14:16:46 2021 UTC)

Although the video's caption says, "You're watching a movie," it is clear from the "Are you awake, yet?" question, coupled with QAnon and coronavirus hashtags, that the "movie" mentioned in the caption is not pointing to a music video, but to a QAnon conspiracy theory. This theory posits that there is a massive plot to deceive the public about how deadly the coronavirus pandemic is, and that this film clip shows one such deceptive production -- purportedly fake COVID-19 fatalities.

This short clip shows an actor bound in black plastic taking a smoke break while stagehands arrange other plastic-wrapped human forms around him. This is a behind-the-scenes view of a music video being filmed in Moscow. The storyline of the video has nothing to do with the coronavirus pandemic. The music video is illustrated with scenes of a janitor whose job is to clean up the mess in the aftermath of a gun battle. The scene is very bloody and the floor is littered with guns and spent shell casings. In one scene, the janitor uses a rooftop winch to lower a chain of plastic-wrapped bodies from a high-rise building to the waiting dump truck.

A TikTok video captured a bystander's view of the making of the scene with the chain of plastic-wrapped body forms hanging down the side of a building. A September 22, 2020, Fact Check from AFP Indonesia addressed the false claims that these props were COVID-19 victims.

Another TikTok video posted by the music video's production designer, Vasya Ivanov, shows the actor's smoke break in the back of the dump truck. Other videos posted to Ivanov's TikTok account show a variety of scenes from the making of the "Never Ever" video.

Below is the finished music video posted on Vimeo by the director, Evgenii Bakirov. (Warning: The video depicts a stylized interpretation of a bloody aftermath of a gun battle.)

HUSKY - NEVER EVER from Evgenii Bakirov on Vimeo.

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Lead Stories is working with the CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus Alliance, a coalition of more than 100 fact-checkers who are fighting misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about the alliance here.

  Sarah Thompson

Sarah Thompson lives with her family and pets on a small farm in Indiana. She founded a Facebook page and a blog called “Exploiting the Niche” in 2017 to help others learn about manipulative tactics and avoid scams on social media. Since then she has collaborated with journalists in the USA, Canada and Australia and since December 2019 she works as a Social Media Authenticity Analyst at Lead Stories.


Read more about or contact Sarah Thompson

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