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Fact check: The Simpsons did not foresee the horned Trump protester

Social media users have been sharing an image of one of the protesters who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 – a man with a painted face wearing fur and horns - alongside what appears to be a cartoon version of the man dressed in a similar outfit.

Reuters Fact Check. REUTERS

The users say that the cartoon is a character from The Simpsons – suggesting that the hit TV show somehow foresaw the events at the US. Capitol. This claim is false, likely a joke. The cartoon image has been doctored.

Examples can be seen  here  and  here  .

One image includes the text “Definitely not staged if the Simpsons predicted it…”  here  and another “The Simpsons did it again ….”   here  .

The cartoon appears to be a doctored image of Simpsons character “Groundskeeper Willie”, visible  here  , edited to resemble the Trump supporter. The original Simpsons image can be seen  here  and  here  .

Media outlets including AZ Central and Mashable have identified the horned man at the Capitol protests as Jake Angeli (  here  ,  here  ). According to AZ Central, he has been a “fixture at Arizona right-wing political rallies over the past year."

The Simpsons show producers told Reuters via email: “We did not create that image. It was created by the internet.”

The show did air an episode called “Treehouse of Horror XXXI” on Nov. 1, 2020 which addresses the 2020 Presidential election  www.imdb.com/title/tt13056368/  . In the opening segment, main character Homer forgets to vote in the election, and the next scene shows the city in chaos on Jan. 20, 2021. The segment can be seen  here  .

Reuters Fact Check has previously debunked the claim that a 1993 episode of the show predicted the COVID-19 outbreak  here  .

VERDICT

False. The Simpsons show did not create the character in the image of a protester at the Capitol.

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

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