Fact Check: Video Does NOT Show Authentic News Segment About Genetically Engineered Disney Child Stars

Fact Check

  • by: Uliana Malashenko
Fact Check: Video Does NOT Show Authentic News Segment About Genetically Engineered Disney Child Stars Satire

Does a video shared on social media show authentic news coverage confirming that Disney child stars are genetically engineered humans? No, that's not true: The segment comes from the satirical website The Onion. The video was posted on The Onion in 2008.

The claim reappeared in a post (archived here) on Instagram on February 8, 2024. The caption began:

Had to bring this one back to the top. Seems like a good time for those who have been waking up slowly to revisit. All your childhood are who you think they are.

The caption continued:

This video is 14 years old and shows how Disney was already creating clones in the Lab. Reality is not what you thought it was.
Why are we exposing our children to this ?

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

Screen Shot 2024-02-09 at 9.56.43 AM.png

(Source: Instagram screenshot taken on Fri Feb 9 14:56:43 2024 UTC)

The video on Instagram showed what looked like a broadcast studio. A woman talking like a news show host said:

This Friday, the newest batch of Disney Channel stars grown in the Disney genetic engineering lab will be unveiled to the public.

A man who appeared to be the show's co-host continued:

Most of our viewers are already familiar with a lot of the products that have come out of it. But how exactly do you create a Hilary Duff or a Miley Cyrus from scratch? Well, we're gonna find out exactly how it's done right now because joining us live from the Disney lab is one of their lead geneticists, Dr. Andrew Roark.

A reverse image search reveals that no major broadcast network ever aired this supposed news segment -- the footage originated from The Onion, a long-running satirical website. As seen in the screenshot below, The Onion posted the footage on September 15, 2008.

Screen Shot 2024-02-09 at 10.26.28 AM.png

(Source: The Onion screenshot taken on Fri Feb 9 14:26:28 2024 UTC)

The Onion, based in Chicago, makes plain in its website's Frequently Asked Questions section (archived here) that it does not report actual news:

The First Amendment protects satire as a form of free speech and expression. The Onion uses invented names in all of its stories, except in cases where public figures are being satirized. Any other use of real names is accidental and coincidental.

In March 2023, the claim that Disney clones its celebrity performers appeared on a website (archived here) that collects conspiracy-related memes. It was published in a section called "Save the Children," an apparent reference to the debunked Pizzagate narrative. Around the same time, it also circulated on BitChute (archived here) and Rumble (archived here), two video sites known for posts that spread conspiracy theories.

Like the post on Instagram, none of these posts disclosed that the footage is satirical and from The Onion.

Previously, Lead Stories wrote about other instances in which materials from The Onion website were presented as authentic news on social media. Some examples can be found here and here.

Lead Stories fact checks of claims about Disney can be read here and about the entertainment industry overall 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.:

  Uliana Malashenko

Uliana Malashenko is a New York-based freelance writer and fact checker.

Read more about or contact Uliana Malashenko

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