Contrary to claims online, Pfizer Chief Executive Albert Bourla has not vowed to rebuild the Georgia Guidestones, a granite monument that was badly damaged in a bombing earlier this month. A screenshot of a New York Times article has been digitally altered to make this unfounded allegation about the monument, whose enigmatic message has made it the subject of several conspiracy theories.
The screenshot includes a purported headline that reads: “Pfizer’s CEO Vows To Re-Build The ‘Iconic’ Georgia Guidestones.” It also includes the subhead: “For more than four decades, the Georgia Guidestones have been an enigma. On Wednesday, Pfizer’s CEO Albert Bourla agreed to finance its reconstruction, provided it could be completed by February 23rd, 2023. A mere six months, six weeks, and six days after the mysterious explosion in Georgia.”
A TikTok video displaying the manipulated image has been viewed over 43,600 times as of the writing of this fact-check (here). Examples of users who appear to believe the screenshot depicts an authentic report by the New York Times are viewable (here) (here)
A spokesperson for The New York Times told Reuters the image shows “a fabricated headline and subhead, which was not published by The New York Times.”
A search on the New York Times website and Google brought no relevant results (here) (archive.ph/QrYbE). Likewise, Reuters found no tweet linking to the purported report in the outlet’s verified Twitter account @NTY (archive.ph/CI7LU).
The font used in the headline and subhead of the screenshot also differs from the fonts used by The New York Times, further suggesting they are fabricated.
It appears to be a manipulated version of an article (here) (here) entitled “Explosion Destroys Mysterious Monument in Georgia, Authorities Say” dated July 6, 2022. The photograph in the piece, credited to WSB-TV via the Associated Press, and the first sentence of the subhead both match the version circulating on social media.
The original article makes no reference to Bourla or a reconstruction of the monument.
Reuters found no evidence that Bourla made such a statement, either. A search on Google ( bit.ly/3nWzskA ), the Pfizer website ( here ) and his verified Twitter handle ( archive.ph/0QOPu ) brought no relevant results.
A spokesperson for Pfizer told Reuters that Bourla “has not made any statements about re-building the Georgia Guidestones.”
The Georgia Guidestones, erected in 1980 in the U.S. state of Georgia, was engraved with a message in 12 languages calling for the preservation of humankind by limiting the world’s population to fewer than a half-billion people to live “in perpetual balance with nature,” according to official translations of the text (here) .
The monument’s message has long drawn opposition from critics who tied it to far-right conspiracies or religious blasphemy. Reuters previously debunked inaccurate claims about it being destroyed by an earthquake (here).
Altered. A screenshot of a New York Times article has been digitally altered to claim Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla would finance the reconstruction of the Georgia Guidestones. A spokesperson for the New York Times told Reuters no such report was published by the outlet, and there is no record of Bourla making such a statement.
This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our work to fact-check social media posts here .
Advisory July 12, 2022: This article has been updated to include a response from Pfizer.
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