Fact Check: Michael Jordan Did NOT Turn Down $120M Disney Deal On April 3, 2023 -- It's Fictional Story

Fact Check

  • by: Marlo Lee
Fact Check: Michael Jordan Did NOT Turn Down $120M Disney Deal On April 3, 2023 -- It's Fictional Story Fiction

Did Michael Jordan turn down a $120 million deal with Disney on April 3, 2023? No, that's not true: This story originated from the website The Dunning-Kruger Times, which has a disclaimer stating, "Everything on this website is fictional." This website is in connection with the satirical network, "America's Last Line of Defense." America's Last Line of Defense has a disclaimer as well saying that their content is not to be taken seriously. There have been no credible reports to substantiate the Jordan-Disney claim.

The claim appeared as a post on Instagram on April 9, 2023. The caption of the post opened:

6 days ago news broke that NBA all star Michael Jordan once declined a $120 million dollar deal from Disney to be the New face of the company.

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

Screenshot 2023-04-18 at 10.58.31 AM.png

(Source: Instagram screenshot taken on Tue Apr 18 15:10:27 2023 UTC)

The caption adds that Jordan's close friend and publicist Joe Barron said Jordan is done with "the whole social justice warrior thing" and that Jordan believed the company was "far too woke" for him to deal with for just $120 million.

The screenshot posted on Instagram comes from a story (archived here) on the website, The Dunning-Kruger Times, which has a line in their About Us section that serves as a disclaimer:

Everything on this website is fiction. It is not a lie and it is not fake news because it is not real.

The Instagram post does not mention that this claim was taken from a satirical site.

Estee Portnoy, not Joe Barron, is Jordan's publicist. Joe Barron is a common name used in Dunning-Kruger pieces. Here, here and here are other Lead Stories debunks of other claims that include the name Joe Barron.

There were no other credible reports of Jordan turning down a Disney deal.

Lead Stories reached out to Jordan's spokesperson and Disney, and will update this article when we receive a response.

The Dunning-Kruger Times 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. He runs several websites and Facebook pages with visible satire disclaimers everywhere. They mostly publish made-up stories with headlines specifically created to trigger Republicans, conservatives and evangelical Christians into angrily sharing or commenting on the story on Facebook without actually reading the full article, exposing them to mockery and ridicule by fans of the sites and pages.

Every site in the network has an about page that reads (in part):

About Satire
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.

A 2018 BBC profile called Blair "the Godfather of fake news," describing him as "one of the world's most prolific writers of disinformation." Articles from Blair's sites frequently get copied by "real" fake news sites who omit the satire disclaimer and other hints the stories are fake.Other Lead Stories fact checks on Dunning-Kruger Times claims can be found here.

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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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