June 24, 2020 / 5:17 PM / 19 days ago

Fact check: Tennis star Serena Williams didn't pen viral post criticising people who ‘can’t handle’ opposing views

A post by a Facebook user called Serena Williams that expresses frustration at divisions over race, religion and politics has been wrongly connected to the tennis star who shares the same name.

Reuters Fact Check. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt

The post, which calls for more tolerance of opposing views, has been reuploaded multiple times and to multiple platforms where some people appear to express their belief that it was written by the famous athlete (examples here , here and here).

The post says: “If you can’t handle the fact that you may have a friend that has opposing views as you, then you are not any better than the bigots and the racists.”

One commenter replied with tennis puns to express their agreement with the content: “120 mph serve, bang on the line, ace!” while another user on Twitter replied to a comment that said the post “reeks of white privilege”.

They replied: “It’s crazy that this isn’t even white privileged. Serena Williams is a famous African American tennis player. She’s amazing. You should really look her up.”

But the post is not connected to the U.S. tennis star at all – she just shares the same name as the Facebook user who uploaded it.

The screenshot of the original 232-word post on June 14 can be traced to another Facebook user called Serena Williams, who makes clear in her profile that she is a different individual ( here ). In the post, she tags another user, Gina Torres, who posted the same words on June 2.

Williams has since updated her profile picture from the one seen in the screenshot – although the image can still found on her page here .

VERDICT

False. Tennis star Serena Williams was not the person who shared the post about divisions and intolerance.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our work to fact-check social media posts  here .

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