A quote circulating widely online and purporting to be from French President Emmanuel Macron telling the unvaccinated that “this time you stay home, not us” appears to be a hoax, and may have been ripped from an Italian journalist’s Instagram post.
The quote, which was widely celebrated on Twitter Wednesday morning, may have come from an unverified account and has been shared thousands of times. The tweet has since been removed and the account has been suspended.
“I no longer have any intention of sacrificing my life, my time, my freedom and the adolescence of my daughters, as well as their right to study properly, for those who refuse to be vaccinated. This time you stay at home, not us,” the now removed post from @AmericanEthical read.
Alex Hern, a U.K. technology editor at the Guardian newspaper, posted a thread on Twitter, stating those comments may have actually been made by an Italian journalist in an Instagram post that featured a photo of Macron.
“I no longer have any intention whatsoever of sacrificing my life, my time, and my son’s adolescence (teenage years), in addition to his right to study properly, for those who refuse to get vaccinated,” Selvaggia Lucarelli wrote in Italian.
“This time you stay home, not us.”
Lucarelli’s post was made on July 13, a day after Macron cranked up pressure on everyone in France to get vaccinated in order to save summer vacation and the French economy. More than 1 million people made vaccine appointments in less than a day following the announcement.
Macron also announced that vaccination would be obligatory for all health care workers by Sept. 15, and held out the possibility of extending the requirement to others. With infections rising around France, he also mandated special COVID passes to go to restaurants, shopping malls, or get on trains or planes.
Here’s why it doesn’t check out
In his thread, Hern writes that Lucarelli’s post was reconstructed to include the phrase, “I no longer have any intention of sacrificing my life, my time, my freedom and the adolescence of my daughters.” Macron does not have any daughters, and doesn’t actually have children of his own.
Lucarelli’s original post reads in part, “I no longer have any intention whatsoever of sacrificing my life, my time, and my son’s adolescence (teenage years).”
Biography.com points out Macron’s wife, Brigitte Macron, has three children. The oldest is 46-year-old Sebastien Auzière, followed by 44-year-old Laurence Auzière-Jourdan and 37-year-old Tiphaine Auzière. They’re not adolescents.
“Just seen one of the unsourced-fake-quotes has 6,000 retweets so I suppose this is just one of those things that millions of people are going to believe was said forever,” Hern wrote.
Some Twitter users caught on to Hern’s observations, but others continued to share the modified quote.
“Apologies — I retweeted a thread earlier, containing translated quotes from President Macron on vaccinations which turned out to be mistaken/mistranslated,” tweeted journalist Mehdi Hasan, host of “The Mehdi Hasan Show” on MSNBC, in part.
“I should have done due diligence and I’m annoyed at myself.”
Always double check what you read on the Internet
Misinformation and/or disinformation thrives online. News Media Canada, an advocacy organization for the print and digital media industry in Canada, advises readers to keep in mind the acronym “SPOT.”
“Is this a credible Source? Is the Perspective biased? Are Other sources reporting the same story? Is the story Timely?” News Media Canada says on its website.
“Fake news online is a complex problem, but Canadians are not interested in complex solutions.”
— With files from The Associated Press