Fact Check: 'No Zelensky No War' Billboard Was NOT Displayed On New York's Fifth Avenue -- It Was Edited Into 2021 Video

Fact Check

  • by: Sarah Thompson
Fact Check: 'No Zelensky No War' Billboard Was NOT Displayed On New York's Fifth Avenue -- It Was Edited Into 2021 Video Edited Video

Did a billboard go up on New York's Fifth Avenue during the summer of 2023, reading "No Zelensky No War"? No, that's not true: This video is fake and has been digitally edited. The original video posted on YouTube in 2021 shows the corner of 57th St. and 5th Ave, in New York, at the Tiffany & Co. jewelry store. The real billboard was a Tiffany ad featuring Rosé, the Korean pop singer from the band Blackpink. The original video shows the same group of pedestrians and cars crossing the intersection as are seen in the edited video, only the billboard has been changed.

The fake video appeared on July 1, 2023, on the X blue account Russian Market @runews published a video (archived here), captioned:

Meanwhile in New York

The banner "No Zelensky - No War" appeared on #FifthAvenue

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

Twitter screenshot(Source: Twitter screenshot taken on Fri Sep 29 14:47:47 2023 UTC)

The video snippet was pulled from a real video titled, "Walking in New York City 4K. 5th Avenue. People, Cars and Street Sounds," which was posted on Youtube on July 14, 2021. The 43:13 minute long video is captioned:

Let's take a walk on a hot summer day in NYC from 59st to 4th St! A place like no other. Where you find people from all walks of life and nationalities. See for yourself. Fifth Avenue is the most famous street of New York City also known as Millionaire's Row.

A comprehensive fact check of the edited video, from the Estonian fact checkers Provereno.Media, was published in Russian on July 12, 2023. This fact check lists 12 pro-Kremlin Telegram channels that posted this edited video on June 29, 2023. This faked video can be debunked from several different angles, and one that was mentioned in the Provereno.Media debunk was a very timely incident which put this street corner on the news. On the morning of June 29, 2023, the same day as the fake video was going viral on Telegram, there happened to be an underground fire at the corner of 57th St. and 5th Ave. as shown in this video. ABC News footage posted on YouTube that day shows that there are not any scaffolding or billboards currently on that corner of the Tiffany & Co building.

In another fact check from Belgian fact checkers dpa-factchecking.com on July 5, 2023, a thorough effort to find the source video was made with the clues available. By narrowing down the dates when the building was being renovated when it would have had scaffolding, they were able to conclude the source video was likely filmed in July of 2021. They explain:

This detail makes it possible to find the original images on YouTube - using a search in English with the keywords "New York", "July 2021" and "Fifth Avenue" - which confirms that the alleged poster mentioning Volodymyr Zelensky was added digitally.

The billboard and the scaffolding wrapped in Tiffany's signature blue appear in the video right from the start. At 0:06 seconds, the cameraman crosses 58th St. and walks toward the Tiffany & Co. billboard. The ad campaign for HardWear featuring Blackpink's Rosé is clearly visible and when the cameraman reaches the corner of 57th St. and 5th Ave., he pans up to record it. The Lead Stories composite image below shows 1:10 minutes into the July 14, 2021 "Walking in New York City 4k" YouTube video compared with the 0:04 second mark in the edited video posted on X on July 1, 2023.


(Image source: Lead Stories composite image using YouTube and X screenshots taken on Fri Sep 29 20:02:26 2023 UTC)

Lead Stories recently debunked another fake anti-Ukrainian message digitally edited into a video of a billboard. In this version, which was showing a billboard in Times Square, the edit showed a Ukrainian flag with the words, "Glory to Urine" superimposed.

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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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