There’s absolutely no evidence the man who confronted Boris Johnson in a hospital was wearing a microphone

19 September 2019
What was claimed

Omar Salem, the man with a sick daughter who confronted Boris Johnson at Whipps Cross hospital, was wearing a microphone.

Our verdict

He wasn’t, according to eye witnesses, photographs and audio of the exchange.

There’s been widespread coverage of the Prime Minister being confronted by a man, Omar Salem, whose sick baby daughter was being treated at Whipps Cross University Hospital. After it emerged the man was a Labour activist, some people on Twitter and Facebook claimed he had been wearing a microphone during his encounter with the Prime Minister.

Telegraph columnist Allison Pearson twice claimed on Twitter that Mr Salem had seemed to come “equipped with his own microphone”.

“Emotional father of sick patient turns out to be Labour activist who seems to have handily come equipped with his own microphone.”

Allison Pearson, 18 September 2019

Omar Salem’s then-seven day-old daughter had been admitted to A&E the day before his encounter with Mr Johnson.

Photographs of the two men talking and of Mr Salem from behind don’t show any microphone on his t-shirt collar, any cables, or a microphone transmitter in his pocket or on his person. A post on Facebook claiming to show a “microphone pack attached to his belt” show his belt and belt loop catching the light.

The sound in footage of the interaction filmed by the Press Association and the BBC also suggests the man wasn’t wearing a microphone. The Press Association confirmed to us that it had not used a wireless radio microphone on Mr Salem. The BBC told us that the cameraman who filmed the clip confirmed that neither Mr Salem nor the Prime Minister were wearing radio microphones, and that the audio was picked up by the microphone attached to the camera.

His voice is echoing as it would if recorded from a microphone near the camera, which was a few metres away. This also seems to be the case for a third video of the incident, from a slightly different angle, posted by an ITV political reporter.

His voice was raised during the interaction, making it unsurprising that conversation was picked up by nearby recording cameras.

Update 20 September 2019

We added a link to a Facebook post making the same claim.

We deserve better than bad information.

We got in touch to request a correction regarding a claim made by Allison Pearson on Twitter.

They did not respond.

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