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Posts spread edited photo of Oz on Hollywood Walk of Fame

August 23, 2022 GMT
Mehmet Oz, the former host of "The Dr. Oz Show," kisses his new star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Friday, Feb. 11, 2022, in Los Angeles. An Associated Press photo of the event has been edited to make it appear as if Oz was kissing the star for former President Donald Trump instead. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
Mehmet Oz, the former host of "The Dr. Oz Show," kisses his new star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Friday, Feb. 11, 2022, in Los Angeles. An Associated Press photo of the event has been edited to make it appear as if Oz was kissing the star for former President Donald Trump instead. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
Mehmet Oz, the former host of "The Dr. Oz Show," kisses his new star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Friday, Feb. 11, 2022, in Los Angeles. An Associated Press photo of the event has been edited to make it appear as if Oz was kissing the star for former President Donald Trump instead. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
Mehmet Oz, the former host of "The Dr. Oz Show," kisses his new star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Friday, Feb. 11, 2022, in Los Angeles. An Associated Press photo of the event has been edited to make it appear as if Oz was kissing the star for former President Donald Trump instead. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
Mehmet Oz, the former host of "The Dr. Oz Show," kisses his new star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Friday, Feb. 11, 2022, in Los Angeles. An Associated Press photo of the event has been edited to make it appear as if Oz was kissing the star for former President Donald Trump instead. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

CLAIM: A photo shows Dr. Mehmet Oz, the celebrity heart surgeon who is running for a U.S. Senate seat in Pennsylvania, kissing former President Donald Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: Altered image. An Associated Press photo of Oz smooching his own star in February 2022 has been edited to insert Trump’s plaque. A spokesperson for Oz’s senate campaign confirmed that the photo has been manipulated.

THE FACTS: Much of this year’s Pennsylvania Senate race is playing out on social media ⁠— where Oz shared an infamous video grousing about grocery store prices as he shopped for “crudités,” while Democratic nominee John Fetterman enlisted a “Jersey Shore” star to razz his longtime New Jersey resident rival.

In recent days, an altered photo of Oz has circulated widely on Twitter, appearing to show the candidate on his hands and knees as he plants a kiss on Trump’s star on Hollywood Boulevard.

“Dr. Oz probably didn’t think this all the way through - in terms of the ‘cleanliness’ of that spot,” read one tweet of the photo that was shared more than 1,800 times. “Mehmet Oz only cares about one thing, and it ain’t Pennsylvania,” read another that received more than 18,000 likes.

But the image of the doctor has been, well, doctored.

The part of the image that shows Oz matches a photo taken by an AP photographer on Feb. 11, 2022, as Oz received his own place on the Walk of Fame ⁠— including the exact same creases on his jacket and a pin on his lapel. The original captures the former “The Dr. Oz Show” host kissing his newly installed star.

It is not clear exactly where the imagery of Trump’s star comes from, but photos taken by an Agence France-Presse photographer of Hollywood Boulevard in March 2017 are very similar. The photos feature the same cracks on the star as the altered image. Trump’s plaque, first installed in 2007, has been repaired multiple times after being smashed by vandals in 2016, 2018 and 2020. More recent photos show no cracks.

Brittany Yanick, a spokesperson for Oz’s senate campaign, confirmed in an email to the AP that the photo circulating online is altered.

“I can confirm the photo being circulated online has been manipulated,” Yanick wrote.

Trump in April endorsed Oz in the race to be the Republican nominee for the Senate seat, which is being vacated by retiring Republican Sen. Pat Toomey, and held a rally for him in the closing days of the primary campaign. The former president is scheduled to rally in Pennsylvania again on Sept. 3.

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This story has been updated to reflect that the photo of Oz was taken in February 2022, not February 2020.

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This is part of AP’s effort to address widely shared misinformation, including work with outside companies and organizations to add factual context to misleading content that is circulating online. Learn more about fact-checking at AP.