Fact Check: Simpsons Did NOT Predict Baltimore Bridge Collapse -- Image Was Created By AI

Fact Check

  • by: Ed Payne
Fact Check: Simpsons Did NOT Predict Baltimore Bridge Collapse -- Image Was Created By AI AI-Generated

Did "The Simpsons" TV show predict that a ship would crash into the Francis Scott Key Bridge over Baltimore Harbor? No, that's not true: The image purportedly foretelling the crash was created using artificial intelligence, based on the results of three image analysis tools used by Lead Stories. Additionally, there is no evidence the image ever appeared online ahead of the incident.

The claim appeared in a post (archived here) on X (formerly Twitter) by Out of Context Human Race on March 28, 2024. The post's caption said:

Simpsons was right again

The post refers to the March 26, 2024, crash of a container ship into Baltimore's Francis Scott Key Bridge and the bridge's collapse -- an event believed to have killed at least six people.

This is what the post looked like on X at the time of the writing of this fact check:


(Source: X screenshot taken on Fri Mar 29 17:15:14 2024 UTC)

To check the image's authenticity, Lead Stories ran it through three online tools -- Hive Moderation, AI or NOT and Illuminarty -- used to check whether photos or illustrations have been altered or generated by artificial intelligence (AI). The results for each tool can be found below:

Hive Moderation

The tool on the Hive Moderation website said the image is 99.9 percent "likely to be AI Generated":


(Source: Hive Moderation screenshot taken on Fri Mar 29 19:00:53 2024 UTC)


The tool on AI or NOT said the image was "Likely AI generated":


(Source: AI or NOT screenshot taken on Fri Mar 29 19:01:35 2024 UTC)


The tool on Illuminarty said there was a 54.2 percent "AI Probability" for the image:


(Source: Illuminarty screenshot taken on Fri Mar 29 19:02:11 2024 UTC)

Google search

A Google Lens search (archived here) turned up scores of matches for the image. However, none were circulating before the ship's March 26, 2024, crash into the Baltimore bridge, making it unlikely that the claim's image was from a previous episode of "The Simpsons."

Homer and Lisa's hair

Inconsistencies in Homer and Lisa's hair cast additional doubt on the image's authenticity.


The social-media post with the boat crashing into the bridge shows a Homer Simpson with three strands of hair on his head. But Homer famously only had two strands of hair on top of his head before losing them.

A post (archived here) from the Facebook page of the TV show from May 8, 2013, previews the episode about this hair loss. The post's caption said:

Homer is shocked when he loses the last two remaining hairs on his head in an all-new episode of The Simpsons - Tonight at 8/7c.

Here's what the post looked like at the time of the writing of this fact check:

Homer Hairs final.png

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Fri Mar 29 20:58:16 2024 UTC)


Lisa Simpson's follicle foibles are more subtle. While the TV character has eight hair spikes, the boat-accident image shows her with 10. Another post (archived here) from the show's Facebook page from February 18, 2024, exhibits the proper number. Count 'em:


(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Fri Mar 29 21:39:32 2024 UTC)

Read more

Additional Lead Stories fact checks of claims about "The Simpsons" can be read here.

Other Lead Stories fact checks involving claims around the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore can be found here.

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  Ed Payne

Ed Payne is a staff writer at Lead Stories. He is an Emmy Award-winning journalist as part of CNN’s coverage of 9/11. Ed worked at CNN for nearly 24 years with the CNN Radio Network and CNN Digital. Most recently, he was a Digital Senior Producer for Gray Television’s Digital Content Center, the company’s digital news hub for 100+ TV stations. Ed also worked as a writer and editor for WebMD. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, Ed is the author of two children’s book series: “The Daily Rounds of a Hound” and “Vail’s Tales.” 

Read more about or contact Ed Payne

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