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Fact Check-Image of actor Sir Ian McKellen was not taken in Lviv, or during the war in Ukraine

Sir Ian McKellen did not take a selfie with a fan in Lviv, Ukraine during the Russian invasion. The British actor took to Twitter to deny he had arrived in Ukraine, saying he had not been to Lviv or anywhere else in the country. The image circulating online dates back to at least November 2021 and was in fact taken in London.

A social media user shared a selfie McKellen took with a fan with a caption that reads: “British actor, 82-year-old Ian McKellen, known for his role as the magician Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings, arrived in Ukraine. The star was noticed in Lviv, where he took a selfie with a fan” ( here ).

The tweet gathered more than 7,900 likes and over 1,000 shares at the time of writing.

An archived version of the tweet can be viewed ( archive.ph/e6agh ).

Other examples of the claim made online can be viewed ( here ), ( here ), ( here ) and ( here ).

The image of McKellen with a fan is not recent, nor was it taken in Lviv, Ukraine.

A reverse image search reveals that the image was posted on Facebook by a user in November 2021 ( here ).

It was taken on Narrow St, London outside The Grapes – a pub leased by McKellen ( www.thegrapes.co.uk/ ).

A geolocation of the image can be viewed ( here!3m6!1e1!3m4!1svmfgyWC8998eQbi7heCEHQ!2e0!7i16384!8i8192 ).

On May 1 the actor posted on Twitter to dispel the online rumors that he was in Lviv, saying: “Despite reports and supposed photographs circulating online, I have not visited Lviv or elsewhere in Ukraine” ( here ).

VERDICT

Miscaptioned. An image circulating online of actor Sir Ian McKellen alongside a fan was not taken in Lviv, Ukraine during the war. The photograph dates back to at least November 2021 and was taken on Narrow St, London outside The Grapes – a pub leased by the actor. McKellen also took to Twitter to deny that he had travelled to Ukraine.

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

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