Fact Check: Photo Of Obama Family By The Ocean NOT Taken At 'Epstein Island' -- The Striped Building Was Added

Fact Check

  • by: Sarah Thompson
Fact Check: Photo Of Obama Family By The Ocean NOT Taken At 'Epstein Island' -- The Striped Building Was Added Altered Image

Did Barack and Michelle Obama visit "Epstein Island" and pose for a photo with their daughters with the iconic and blue and white striped building of Epstein Island in the background? No, that's not true: This photo has been altered to add the blue and white striped building. This old family photo, with a birthday greeting for Barack Obama, was originally shared on social media on August 4, 2020, by Michelle Obama. The place pictured has been geolocated to a point on the North Pacific Ocean on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, called Lanai Lookout, it is not Little Saint James Island in the U.S. Virgin Islands in the Caribbean.

The altered image which has circulated for several years resurfaced in a post (archived here) by the Facebook page CONSCIOUS SOULS on December 6, 2023. It was posted with the caption:

Outta all the places to take a family photo..

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


(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Mon Dec 11 14:11:32 2023 UTC)

The original image does not show a blue and white striped building in the distance. The photo was originally shared on Twitter and Instagram on August 4, 2020, by Michelle Obama with the caption:

Happy birthday to my favorite guy. Here's to all the good days, blue skies, and new adventures to come. 😘


(Source: Twitter screenshot taken on Mon Dec 11 16:18:28 2023 UTC)

This location was verified in a December 7, 2023, article by the Spanish fact checkers at Newtral.es. The place where the photo was taken, Lanai Lookout, has a designated scenic overlook parking area off the Kalanianaole Highway. A high-resolution public domain image showing the highway and the cliffs that appear in the background of the Obamas' photo can be found (here) from Wikimedia Commons.


(Source: Wikipedia screenshot taken on Mon Dec 11 16:18:28 2023 UTC)

A detailed 3-D rendering of the lookout can be found on Google Earth (pictured below)


(Source: Google Earth screenshot taken on Mon Dec 11 16:18:28 2023 UTC)

Lead Stories has previously debunked many false claims about Epstein Island (here) as well as false claims about Barack and Michelle Obama (here).

Want to inform others about the accuracy of this story?

See who is sharing it (it might even be your friends...) and leave the link in the comments.:

  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

Different viewpoints

Note: if reading this fact check makes you want to contact us to complain about bias, please check out our Red feed first.

About Us

International Fact-Checking Organization Meta Third-Party Fact Checker

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.
Spotted something? Let us know!.

Lead Stories is a:


Subscribe to our newsletter

* indicates required

Please select all the ways you would like to hear from Lead Stories LLC:

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. For information about our privacy practices, please visit our website.

We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp's privacy practices here.

Most Read

Most Recent

Share your opinion