for-phone-onlyfor-tablet-portrait-upfor-tablet-landscape-upfor-desktop-upfor-wide-desktop-up

Fact Check-Widely shared Simpsons collage amid Ukraine invasion contains manipulated or out of context images

Almost a month after Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine, a collage purportedly showing images from episodes of The Simpsons apparently related to the war is making rounds online, with some users referring to the longstanding allegation that the show “predicts” world events.

The footage in the collage, however, is not all authentic Simpsons imagery.

An iteration shared at least 489 times can be seen on Facebook ( here ). A TikTok clip featuring the images of the collage has been viewed over 2.8 million times as of the writing of this article ( vm.tiktok.com/ZMLmasXPX/ ).

Other iterations can be found ( vm.tiktok.com/ZMLmmeDgg/ ) ( here ) ( here ).

Comments from users include: “It’s not predictive if you know the script of life..” and “Remember matt groening is part of the illuminati and a freemason. This is all part of the new world order elite satanism. They gotta show snippets of what is going to happen in the near future. Simpsons are evil.”

The meme shows three photos – one of a Ukrainian soldier pointing a rifle with “2022” written on the barrel at Vladimir Putin, while Homer Simpson holds a Ukrainian flag in the background; one of a nuclear missile with the date “05/05/2022”; and one of a nuclear explosion.

SOLDIER

The image of a soldier holding a rifle traces back to episode 11 of season 30 “Mad About the Toy”. The unedited frame is viewable in the IMDB website ( here ). The Ukrainian flag on the soldier’s arm and the “2022” text on the rifle are not part of the original image.

Putin, beside the soldier, was also digitally added in.

He comes from a short clip posted on the Simpsons official Facebook page on Oct. 14, 2016, weeks ahead of the U.S. presidential election. In the clip, the character is identified as Vladimir Putin and originally wears a Boston Red Sox t-shirt (around timestamp 00:53) ( here ).

Homer in the background carrying a Ukrainian flag was also digitally superimposed. The original artwork shows Homer waving a U.S. flag in episode 8 of season 17 at an airport ( here ) ( here ).

EXPLOSION

As previously explained by Reuters when this scene of a bomb explosion was falsely tied to the 2020 Beirut explosion ( here ), the image depicting a big orange cloud of smoke in the fictional town of Springfield belongs to episode 20 of season 2021 ( www.imdb.com/title/tt1633108/ ). It makes no reference to Ukraine.

The image is also viewable in the The Simpsons Fandom Wiki ( here ).

BOMB

Reuters could not source the image depicting a bomb landing in the yard of the Simpsons house. The collage seems to suggest the artifact includes a text with the date “05/05/2022.”

The highlighted text, however, was likely digitally superimposed.

Reuters found an earlier version, with no house in the background but just the artifact and the surrounding ground ( here ) ( here). According to the description, the image is a “decoration” that can be used in a Simpsons themed videogame, which allows users to design their own Springfield scenarios ( here ).

In an article published on March 24, 2022 ( here ), speaking about actual footage from the series that online users said proved the show “predicted” the situation in Ukraine, showrunner Al Jean told The Hollywood Reporter that “there is the kind of prediction, where we reference something that has happened, happening again — we hope it wouldn’t, but sadly, it does.”

Contacted by Reuters in March 2020, Bill Oakley, writer and producer for The Simpsons during the 1990s, addressed the overall idea that show could predict world events. “I would say in general when people say The Simpsons has predicted something, it is just that we were satirizing real life events from years before and because history keeps repeating it just SEEMS like we were predicting things.” ( here )

Reuters has previously addressed similar claims about The Simpsons and other events ( here ) ( here ) ( here ) ( here ).

VERDICT

Altered. This collage includes manipulated imagery of The Simpsons edited to include references to Ukraine and Russia, as well as authentic clips taken out of context.

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

for-phone-onlyfor-tablet-portrait-upfor-tablet-landscape-upfor-desktop-upfor-wide-desktop-up