Social media users are sharing a screenshot of a purported tweet attributed to British Labour MP Diane Abbott, which claims she told her followers that migrants will “behave like rapists” if treated “like rapists”. However, there is no evidence the tweet exists, and Abbott told Reuters she did not write such a tweet.
One Facebook user, whose post has more than 160 interactions, uploaded the screenshot here, within which the text reads: “My earlier tweet regarding the rape of the teenager in the migrant home may have been slightly raw in content but I maintain my theory, you treat migrants like rapists then they are going to behave like rapists.”
The Facebook caption asks whether the so-called tweet was an apology for an earlier, legitimate post on the politician’s Twitter profile (here), which discusses the alleged rape of a teenage boy at a hotel housing refugees in London (here) and reads: “Teenage boy raped at hotel housing refugees. Terrible case. But it is what happens when you demonise migrants and take NO responsibility for safeguarding migrant children. #SuellaBravermanOut.”
Similar posts can be seen on Facebook (here and here) and Twitter (here), where it has amassed more than 940 shares.
However, Abbott told Reuters via email that she “did not post the follow-up tweet”.
“I have never said those words publicly and I did not delete the ‘tweet’ because I did not tweet it,” she said.
There is also no evidence the alleged tweet in the screenshot exists, nor that it was posted and then later deleted.
An advanced Twitter search for the tweet shows it is not currently on Abbott’s profile (bit.ly/3fYJK3q) and it cannot be found in archived links to her account from Nov. 3, when it was allegedly posted (here and here).
There is also no evidence of people replying to what would be a now-deleted tweet on Abbott’s account.
Likewise, a Google search for the wording in the tweet produces no proof of it existing, nor any evidence or news articles about it being posted and later deleted (bit.ly/3UvJRCn and bit.ly/3hBkoZG).
Such a tweet would likely be reported on by major news outlets. For example, her legitimate tweet about the alleged rape at the hotel was covered here, here and here.
Reuters did find one news report – by MyLondon (here, archived at perma.cc/TC9H-K6MD and archive.ph/klY42) – on the alleged follow-up tweet, but that has since been deleted after the publication’s parent company – Reach – was approached by Reuters.
Reach did not respond to a request for comment.
False. Diane Abbott told Reuters she did not post the follow-up tweet from the screenshot and there is no evidence it ever existed.
This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here.
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