Fact Check: Tafari Campbell Did NOT Post That He Had Information That Would Lead To Barack Obama's Arrest -- It's A Fabricated Meme

Fact Check

  • by: Sarah Thompson
Fact Check: Tafari Campbell Did NOT Post That He Had Information That Would Lead To Barack Obama's Arrest -- It's A Fabricated Meme Fake Post

Did Tafari Campbell, the Obamas' chef who drowned in July 2023 while paddleboarding, make a post two years ago stating that he had information that would lead to Barack Obama's arrest? No, that's not true: This is a fabricated post shared by the right-wing meme account @PepeLivesMatter. Campbell never suggested he had incriminating evidence about Barack Obama on social media, and the @PepeLivesMatter account that originated the claim acknowledges that this post is a meme.

The meme was posted by @PepeLivesMatter on Truth Social on July 24, 2023, with the caption:

It's all making sense now

The fabricated post, using as a profile photo a picture of Campbell that had been released publicly by the White House, reads:

Tafari Cambell
I have information that will lead to the arrest of Barrack Obama.
12:00 PM Jun 1, 2021

A screenshot of the entire post was posted on Instagram on July 25, 2023, by @rightside_optics3. The misspelled name and handle of Tafari Campbell were circled with yellow and the post was captioned:

Oh really, but we knew this...

This is how the post appeared on Instagram:


(Source: Instagram screenshot taken on Wed Jul 26 16:10:51 2023 UTC)

Campbell was a chef employed by former President Barack Obama. He drowned while paddleboarding, and his body was recovered on July, 24, 2023. As soon as news of a drowning began to circulate on social media, rumors did as well -- that this accident might be some sort of foul play or cover-up. The fabricated post in the meme plays to the conspiracy rumors by offering a motive for someone to silence Campbell -- but Campbell never made this post.

The meme (pictured above), has a tiny, blurry, barely legible "Pepe Lives Matter" watermark below the June 1, 2021, date stamp. The zoomed detail (pictured below) is taken from the original Truth Social post.


(Source: Truth Social screenshot taken on Wed Jul 26 16:10:51 2023 UTC)

The meme also misspells the names of both Barack Obama, misspelled Barrack, and Tafari Campbell, misspelled Cambell. The fabricated post is suggestive of a tweet, purportedly from an account @tafaricambell (archived here). On X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, the handle only brings up a notice, "This account doesn't exist." The internet archiving systems Wayback Machine and Archive.Today have no record that an @tafaricambell account ever existed on Twitter in the past.

Minutes after @PepeLivesMatter made the original post at 7:46 p.m. on July 24, 2023, they followed at 7:52 p.m. with a comment stating, "This is a meme lol" (pictured below).


(Source: Truth Social screenshot taken on Wed Jul 26 16:10:51 2023 UTC)

The cartoon frog Pepe is a character originally created by cartoonist Matt Furie for a 2005 underground comic called Boy's Club. Pepe the Frog took on a life of his own when his likeness was appropriated for alt-right memes on 4chan and other platforms. On September 27, 2016, the Anti Defamation League identified the frog as a hate symbol, which Furie never intended. In 2020 a documentary about Pepe, "Feels Good Man," was released. An extensive history of Pepe the Frog appears in the Know Your Meme database.

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  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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