Fact Check: This Video Does NOT Show President Biden Making Transphobic Remarks -- Audio Is Digitally Manipulated

Fact Check

  • by: Uliana Malashenko
Fact Check: This Video Does NOT Show President Biden Making Transphobic Remarks -- Audio Is Digitally Manipulated Altered Sound

Did President Joe Biden go on a transphobic rant live on national television? No, that's not true: A viral video mimicking his manner of speech had the authentic sound replaced with a made-up voice-over, probably utilizing a deep fake technology.

The claim appeared in a video published on Instagram on February 5, 2023, under the title:

Best Speech Ever

The caption said:

I completely agree with my president on this. I stand with Biden

Here is what it looked like at the time of writing:

Screen Shot 2023-02-06 at 12.38.17 PM.png

(Source: Instagram screenshot taken on Mon Feb 6 17:17:32 2023 UTC)

In the video, Biden appears to be making comments against transwomen:

You have no womb you have no ovaries. You have no eggs. You're a homosexual man twisted by drugs and surgery into a crude mockery of nature's perfection. All the validation you get is two-faced and half-hearted behind your back, people mock you. Your parents are disgusted and ashamed of you. Your friends laugh at your ghoulish appearance behind closed doors. Men are utterly repulsed by you.

However, the White House website does not confirm that he said anything similar:

Screen Shot 2023-02-06 at 12.11.22 PM.png

(Source: White House screenshot taken on Mon Feb 6 17:11:22 2023 UTC)

A reverse image search shows that the footage in question was taken out of the January 25, 2023 president's televised address announcing the delivery of 31 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, which was broadcast by CNN, among other stations (for example, here and here.)

Both videos show the same unique identifiers in the background: the quantity, order and position of flags as well as shoulders of the two officials, the Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the head of the Department of Defense Lloyd James Austin III, accompanying Biden:

Screen Shot 2023-02-06 at 1.12.29 PM.png

(Sources: Instagram screenshot taken on Mon Feb 6 18:04:03 2023 UTC; YouTube screenshot taken on Mon Feb 18:05:46 2023 UTC: composite image by Lead Stories)

Moreover, at the 4:52 mark in the CNN video, Biden makes a very specific gesture touching his head, which is also visible in the low-quality clip from Instagram:

Screen Shot 2023-02-06 at 1.43.51 PM.png

(Sources: Instagram screenshot taken on Mon Feb 6 18:41:52 2023 UTC; YouTube screenshot taken on Mon Feb 18:37:25 2023 UTC; composite image by Lead Stories)

This moment appears roughly around the 1:00 mark in the video in question, which approximately corresponds to the 3:48 mark in the CNN footage.

Here is what Biden actually says within this time frame:

Germany has really stepped up, and the Chancellor has been a strong, strong voice for unity -- a close friend -- and for the level of effort we're going to continue.

Supporting Ukraine's ability to fight off Russian aggression to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity is a worldwide commitment. Not just lo- -- it's worldwide commitment.

Last week, Germany -- in Germany, Secretary Austin convened the Ukraine Defense Contact Group for the eighth time. This group is made up of some 50 nations -- 50 nations -- each making significant contributions of their own to Ukraine's integrity, each fully committed to making Ukraine remain strong and independent and able to defend itself against Russian threats and violence.

I want to thank every member of that coalition for continuing to step up.

The UK -- the United Kingdom -- recently announced that it is donating Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine. France is contributing AMX-10s, armored fighting vehicles.

In addition to the Leopard tanks that Germany, like the United States, is also -- Germany is also sending a pat- -- a Patriot missile battery.

Both screenshots show the same recognizable CNN graphic elements, with the only difference being that the video from Instagram was cropped on the right and on the left so the letter "B" in "Breaking News" and the letter "E" in "Live" disappeared.

That explains why the video from Instagram shows the time of the address as 2:05 PM EST instead of a time frame between noon and 12:10 PM EST when the president actually gave this speech, according to the transcript available on the White House website.

Digitally altered videos may not necessarily rely on the video deep-fake technology based on machine learning. Similar artificial intelligence techniques can be also used to create audio deep fakes for the purpose of misleading general audiences or committing cybercrimes.

Other Lead Stories fact checks about false claims involving references to transgender people may be found here, here and here.

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  Uliana Malashenko

Uliana Malashenko is a New York-based freelance writer and fact checker.

Read more about or contact Uliana Malashenko

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