Fact Check-Old altered photo showing John Kerry with Church of Satan founder resurfaces

A newspaper clipping with a photograph of U.S. special presidential envoy for climate John Kerry and Church of Satan founder Anton LaVey has been fabricated. No such article was published by the San Francisco Chronicle and the photograph has been altered to show the pair together.

Examples can be seen here and here .

The caption beneath the photo of the pair reads: “PLEASE ALLOW ME TO INTRODUCE MYSELF: Anton La Vey, high priest of the Church of Satan, meets with noted attorney John Kerry at CISPES function.”

The text on one post reads: “KERRY WITH HIGH PRIEST OF CHURCH OF SATAN!!!!”

Comments on the posts include: “Doesn’t surprise me... birds of a feather all batting for the same team... team satan. Thanks for sharing!!”, “Not surprised”, and “He should be tried for treason and appropriately sentenced.”

The newspaper article shown in the post appears to be from the San Francisco Chronicle and published on “Sunday, July 17”. Although the year is obscured, a closer look reveals that it was in the 1980s. Kerry is referred to as “congressman” in the article, a title he held from 1984 until 2013 (

No such article about Kerry and LaVey exists in the San Francisco Chronicle’s archives here from 1980 onwards.

Priestess Serena Malone, administrator at the Church of Satan, confirmed to Reuters via email that the photograph is “definitely a photoshopped fakery” and that LaVey never met Kerry.

“Some people are desperate to believe that Democrats are somehow allied with the Church of Satan, which is an apolitical organization, now in our 55th year,” Malone added.

The photograph in the claim is a flipped version of the original, which shows LaVey with Marilyn Manson, visible in a Rolling Stone article here .

A fact check done by Snopes in 2003 here , determined that the image of Kerry was taken from a photo of him meeting clown Rami Salami in 1998. The photo was also shared by Salami on his Facebook page in 2011, here .

The Church of Satan describes itself on its website here as the first modern church “promulgating a religious philosophy championing Satan as the symbol of personal freedom and individualism.”


Altered. The image of John Kerry was edited into a photograph with Church of Satan founder Anton LaVey and featured in a fabricated San Francisco Chronicle article. The pair have never met, according to the Church of Satan.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work  here  .