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Photo manipulated to show congresswoman making obscene gesture

November 20, 2019 GMT

Photo manipulated to show congresswoman making obscene gesture

CLAIM: Photo shows Rep. Elise Stefanik giving the middle finger following testimony to the House Intelligence Committee by former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The image of the Republican congresswoman from New York was manipulated to make it appear she was making the obscene gesture.

THE FACTS: The manipulated photo began circulating Friday following the second day of public impeachment hearings, which featured Yovanovitch. 

Stefanik addressed the manipulated photo in a tweet Saturday. 


“The photoshopped picture that the Leftist Twitter mob led by George Conway is circulating is FAKE - I’ve been so busy exposing Adam Schiff’s #regimeofsecrecy that I haven’t had time for a manicure in weeks,” she said. 

She then shared a photo of herself at the press conference. 

The image appears to have been taken from a video that shows the audience in the hearing room applauding Yovanovitch as she leaves the room. Stefanik can be seen approaching the camera, then she turns away, making no gesture with her hands.

Some social media users who shared the manipulated photo corrected their posts, noting that the photo was manipulated by a graphic artist. But it continues to be shared on social media, including Facebook, as real. 

Stefanik is the only Republican woman on the House Intelligence Committee. She was elected to Congress in 2014.


This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.

Here’s more information on Facebook’s fact-checking program: https://www.facebook.com/help/1952307158131536