Fact Check: Pfizer CEO, Pfizer VP Have NOT Been Arrested

Fact Check

  • by: Marlo Lee
Fact Check: Pfizer CEO, Pfizer VP Have NOT Been Arrested Not Detained

Did the CEO of Pfizer get arrested? Was the vice president of Pfizer detained by federal agents recently? No, neither of these claims are true: A spokesperson from Pfizer told Lead Stories that these claims are false. Vancouver Times, which wrote about the Pfizer vice president, is satirical according to its About Us section. Meanwhile, another site -- Fast News Hub -- cited the Vancouver Times account in its own story, put "Pfizer CEO Arrested" in its headline for the article about the vice president but then added to confusion by beginning its story with, "Pfizer CEO is not arrested but Vp of Pfizer Rady Johnson was detained ..."

The claim originated in an article (archived here) published by Vancouver Times on May 7, 2022, under the title "VP of Pfizer arrested after #pfizerdocuments get released." It opened:

Rady Johnson, the executive Vice President of Pfizer, has been arrested at his home and charged with multiple counts of fraud by federal agents.

This is what the article looked like at the time of writing:

Screen Shot 2022-05-11 at 12.53.50 PM.png

(Source: Vancouver Times screenshot taken on Wed May 11 12:54:17 2022 UTC)

This claim was repeated by Fast News Hub, which said in its headline: "Pfizer CEO Arrested [CONFIRMED]: Why Was Rady Johnson Arrested?" Under that headline, the story began, "Pfizer CEO is not arrested but Vp of Pfizer Rady Johnson was detained ..."

Albert Bourla is CEO of Pfizer. Rady Johnson is vice president of Pfizer. In fact, neither man was arrested or detained by federal agents.

Lead Stories emailed a Pfizer spokesperson to ask about the claims. The spokesperson emailed us back on May 10, 2022, to say that both of these claims are untrue. Neither Bourla or Johnson has been arrested or detained.

The Vancouver Times About Us section says, "Vancouver Times is the most trusted source for satire on the West Coast. We write satirical stories about issues that affect conservatives." The Pfizer article is visibly in the Satire section.

Screen Shot 2022-05-11 at 11.45.26 AM.png

(Source: Vancouver Times screenshot taken on Wed May 11 11:45:26 2022 UTC)

Bourla tweeted from his verified account, @AlbertBourla, twice on May 10, 2022.

Johnson does not have a Twitter presence.

Lead Stories debunked an earlier story that claimed Pfizer's CEO had been arrested here.

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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.

Marlo Lee is a fact checker at Lead Stories. She is a graduate of Howard University with a B.S. in Biology. Her interest in fact checking started in college, when she realized how important it became in American politics. She lives in Maryland.

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