Canada Deputy Prime Minister/Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland speaks during a news conference on Parliament Hill in 2020 in Ottawa, Canada ( AFP / Dave Chan)

Altered photo of Canada's Freeland at Toronto Pride spreads online

Copyright AFP 2017-2022. All rights reserved.

An image that purports to show Canada Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland and another politician at the Pride Toronto celebration is circulating on social media. But the photo is altered; the Twitter user that first shared the image said it was doctored to make it look like the Liberal Party politicians posed with a naked man.

"Invite the kids!" says a June 28, 2022 tweet that includes an image of Freeland and another politician appearing to pose with a naked man during Pride Toronto. The tweet tagged Freeland and Ontario MP Patty Hajdu.

Warning

Screenshot of a tweet taken July 5, 2022

 


The image circulated amid rising attacks on the LGBTQ community in Canada and the United States. AFP previously reported on renewed disinformation targeting groups sponsoring Drag Queen Story Hour -- literacy events that have faced backlash in Canada.

But the image is altered. The Twitter user that shared the photo, George Hampton, admitted it was not authentic.

"Of course this is photo-shopped," Hampton said on Twitter two hours after the initial post.

On June 29, Hampton also tweeted: "I don't photoshop images to fool or mislead people, just to ridicule politicians etc for a laugh."

However, replies to the original post indicate some people took the image seriously.

Screenshot of a tweet taken July 5, 2022
Screenshot of a tweet taken July 5, 2022

 

 

Responses to the tweet also pointed out that the second woman in the image is Carolyn Bennett, Canada's minister of mental health and addictions -- not Hajdu.

On June 26, 2022, the Toronto MP shared the photo of herself with Freeland on Twitter. The image does not show a naked man.

Screenshot of a tweet taken July 5, 2022

Another altered version of the image shows Freeland wearing a pink sex toy.

"If you don't mind, George, can I join the Photoshop extravaganza too?" said a Twitter user in a June 28 response to Hampton's original post.

That image spread to TikTok, Facebook and Instagram in a screenshot of what appears to be a tweet from Conservative MP Marilyn Gladu of Ontario.

The tweet is not live on Gladu's official account, but several social media users shared screenshots of the purported post on June 30, 2022. Gladu has not responed to AFP's request for additional comment.

AFP has debunked other claims about Canada here.

July 5, 2022 This article was updated to add an archived link to the original tweet from George Hampton in the second paragraph.