A ‘Guardian’ opinion article supporting looting in France is fake

4 July 2023
What was claimed

The Guardian has published an opinion piece by lawyer Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu who says she supports looting in France because it is “reparations” for slavery.

Our verdict

This is not a real article published by the Guardian. Dr Mos-Shogbamimu has confirmed that she has not written any such opinion piece.

Posts showing a screenshot of a fake Guardian article about looting during the riots in France have been shared widely on social media

The image shows what appears to be a Guardian opinion piece with the headline: “I fully support the looting in France by the disenfranchised black youth. Call it reparations”. 

The sub-heading goes on to say: “It’s not looting when intergenerational trauma forces thousands to seek reparations for being sold into slavery.”

It has been widely shared on Twitter and has also appeared on Facebook

But this is not a genuine article. A quick Google search shows that no articles with such a headline exist on the Guardian’s website.

The supposed author is lawyer, author and activist Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu, who has confirmed on social media that she did not write any such article. 

Dr Mos-Shogbamimu has previously written for the Guardian, but does not have an author page on the publication’s website.

A spokesperson for The Guardian told fact checkers at Reuters that the article in the image has “never been a published Guardian headline or story”.

This is not the first time Dr Mos-Shogbamimu has been the subject of this type of online misinformation

Full Fact has previously written about other fake or altered screenshots appearing to be genuine Guardian articles, including those with headlines about Insulate Britain or leaked Lib Dem emails. The fake screenshots can appear very convincing and create unnecessary controversy. 

Looting was reported in cities across France as riots took place following the fatal shooting by a police officer of teenager Nahel M in a Paris suburb on 27 June. 

We have seen other online misinformation relating to the riots, including false claims that zoo animals were released onto the streets of Paris and that a photo from unrest after the Euro final in 2016 shows riots next to the Eiffel Tower.

Misleading images and videos are some of the most common kinds of misinformation we see online, but they can sometimes be hard to spot. It’s always worth checking if social media images and videos show what the post says they do before you share them—we have written guides on how to do so here and here.

Image courtesy of Kristoffer Trolle

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