Fact Check: Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla Was NOT Arrested By US Marines On August 7, 2023

Fact Check

  • by: Lead Stories Staff
Fact Check: Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla Was NOT Arrested By US Marines On August 7, 2023 Fake Arrest

Did U.S. Marines arrest Albert Bourla, the CEO of the biopharmaceutical company Pfizer, on August 7, 2023? No, that's not true: There is no evidence that Bourla was arrested, and Pfizer confirmed that it didn't happen. The claim started on a website known for publishing fictional stories about real-life figures.

The claim originated in an article (archived here) published by Real Raw News on August 9, 2023, titled "Military Arrests Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla." The article opened:

United States Marines on Monday captured Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla and killed his two bodyguards during a military-sanctioned operation to apprehend the fiendish clot shot manufacturer following his return to the United States, a source in General Eric M. Smith's office told Real Raw News.

Users on social media saw this title, description and thumbnail:

Military Arrests Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla | Real Raw News

Albert Bourla wasn't arrested

There is no evidence that Bourla was or ever has been arrested by the U.S. military at the time of the writing. The article relies on inaccurate information to support its claim, including that Bourla has not been seen in the U.S. since November 8, 2022 -- which several credible images (examples found here and here) debunk. There has been no legitimate news published about Bourla being arrested by Marines, which would be expected since Pfizer makes one of the available COVID-19 vaccines.

Lead Stories contacted Pfizer for comment on the claim. In an email sent to us on August 10, 2023, the company simply replied "FALSE." We also reached out to the U.S. Marine Corps and we will update the story with any response.

In 2021, Lead Stories debunked a claim that Bourla was arrested by the FBI.

Real Raw News

Real Raw News is a website that consistently publishes made-up stories about U.S. politics. The well-written English and news-style layout of the website make it look like a legitimate news source, so it often fools people into believing the stories are real. Screenshots and copies of the stories regularly turn up on other websites or on social media where they are presented as real.

It bills itself as "humor, parody and satire" on the "about" page (archived here):


Information on this website is for informational and educational and entertainment purposes. This website contains humor, parody, and satire. We have included this disclaimer for our protection, on the advice on legal counsel.

The same "about" page claims the main author is a man named Michael Baxter. In 2021 a PolitiFact article (archived here) identified the writer as a "Michael Tuffin" in Texas based on records found in a GoFundMe campaign set up to support the site.

NewsGuard, a tool that provides credibility ratings for websites, published a five-page PDF report (archived here) in 2021 describing realrawnews.com as, "An anonymously run website that has published baseless and debunked conspiracies about COVID-19 and U.S. politics." It cautioned that the website severely violates basic journalistic standards."

Lead Stories has covered claims published by Real Raw News in the past. Previous Lead Stories debunks of Real Raw News claims are collected here.

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Lead Stories is a fact checking website that is always looking for the latest false, misleading, deceptive or inaccurate stories, videos or images going viral on the internet.
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