A Canadian reporter slammed former U.K. Independence Party leader Nigel Farage for sharing an image of hers that had been Photoshopped with an anti-immigration slogan yet passed on as real.
On Saturday, Farage tweeted a photo of a woman wearing a sign that read: “My legs are open for refugees.”
“What an insult to the victims of sexual abuse in Cologne and rape in Malmo. These people are sick,” Farage tweeted along with the photo to his 1.2 million followers.
Farage appears to be making reference to the more than 1,200 women who were sexually assaulted during New Year’s events throughout Germany in 2016. German officials had placed some of the blame for the attacks on the influx of immigration to the country.
NEWS 1130 Digital reporter Lasia Kretzel lashed out at the British broadcaster Sunday, to share “the real facts” of her photograph, after having been notified that he had retweeted a fake image.
Kretzel’s original image was taken in Saskatoon, Sask., in 2015 at a Syrian refugee support rally.
“A woman, whose name I do not know, was wearing an Amnesty International pre-made sign around her neck which, in the original photo, read ‘My door is open for refugees,’” Kretzel tweeted at Farage.
“Unbeknownst to me, the photo was then taken, edited (poorly) and redistributed around the internet for various unrelated, primarily anti-immigration propaganda,” the journalist tweeted. “This is a poor and hastily done editing job, which I hope you could recognize.”
Kretzel went on to point out that her image had nothing to do with Germany, rape and sexual abuse, “nor does it indicate so.”
“If you’re going to criticize something, please make sure what you’re distributing is authentic,” Kretzel tweeted. “As a fellow broadcaster, I think you owe it to the public to publish correct information, to apologize, and set the record straight when an error is made.”
Farage deleted the image before Kretzel’s comments, but has yet to apologize for sharing the fake information.
“The photograph turns out to be Fake News, but the refugees welcome brigade need to think harder about what is happening,” Farage tweeted.
Actor James Woods had also shared Kretzel’s Photoshopped image, saying: “Finally, a real solution to stop illegal immigration.”
The NEWS 1130 journalist told Global News that she was initially alerted to the Farage tweet after someone shared a screenshot of the image before the former politician deleted it and sent the follow up tweet. Kretzel said she initially felt “disbelief” and “shock” after seeing her image being used in that way.
“Figuring out how anybody could believe that is not a doctored image,” Kretzel said.
The fake image has been used a number of times in the past, and the reporter chalked it up to a few internet trolls being nasty.
“I thought it that was a couple of nobodies having a laugh and that it wasn’t worth it to push for it because the more I would fight it the more it would probably be spread. I didn’t want that, I wanted the image to die.” Kretzel explained. “But, when I saw someone of note, who has the eyes and ears of thousands of people daily, it felt that more important to say something.”
In a lengthy statement on Facebook, Kretzel said she was sharing her story to show “the damage misinformation can do, and its ability to spread like wildfire.”
“It just so happened to be with one of my photos, which happened to be at a rally to show support for refugees,” the journalist said. “I thank the people that brought this to my attention, and I hope it can be used as a tool to help everyone think about the information they are sharing and to do their own fact checking so we are all better informed as a people.”