Man in lewd photo is Nigerian influencer, not US Senator

Copyright © AFP 2017-2023. All rights reserved.

Social media users are claiming a man photographed with women dressed in phallic pants is US Senator Raphael Warnock -- the Democrat locked in a runoff race for reelection to his seat in the state of Georgia -- at his church. This is false; reverse image searches show the man pictured is a Nigerian influencer who goes by the moniker "Pretty Mike," not Warnock.

"Dr. warnock's church," says text over the image in a November 27, 2022 Facebook post. "This is what Herschel (Walker) is up against."

"What kind of a 'church' is reverend Warnock running?" says another post on Twitter, where the image of a line of women with a man dressed in a sleeveless, bell-bottomed garment spread widely.


Screenshot from Facebook taken December 2, 2022
Screenshot from Twitter taken December 2, 2022



But the image does not show Warnock, who has for years served as the senior pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia -- the same church where the American civil rights icon Reverend Martin Luther King Jr preached until his assassination in 1968.

Reverse image searches show the photo in social media posts and online discussions of an October 2022 stunt by Mike Eze Nwalie Nwogu, known on Instagram as "Pretty Mike Of Lagos," who showed up at the funeral service for the late mother of Nigerian record producer Don Jazzy with women clad in orange pants with penis appendages, according to online articles.

Reached by AFP, a spokesperson for Warnock's Senate reelection campaign pointed to an October 8 article featuring the same image from Ripples Nigeria, a website based in the African country. The headline says: "Pretty Mike stuns guests at Don Jazzy's mother's funeral with women wearing 'pen*s pants.'"

In an October 7 post on his verified Instagram account, "Pretty Mike Of Lagos" shared a photo of him posing with the women in the orange pants.

"Out here doing what I do best, Putting smiles and confusion In peoples mind, believe what u want, But we just Laid Mummy to final Rest in Grand style #MummyDonJazzy #PabloCubanaGrandReopeningLoadin," the influencer wrote.


Screenshot of an Instagram post taken December 2, 2022

The interior of Ebenezer Baptist Church -- as shown on the church's social media and in the AFP photos below -- does not match the scenery in the pictures posted by "Pretty Mike Of Lagos" or the misrepresented photo circulating online.

US Senator Raphael Warnock attends a service at Ebenezer Baptist Church on January 17, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia ( Getty Images / AFP / Paras Griffin)
The body of Rayshard Brooks arrives for his funeral at Ebenezer Baptist Church on June 23, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia ( POOL / AFP / Curtis Compton)



AFP sent an email to the church, and an Instagram direct message to the "Pretty Mike Of Lagos" account, but no responses were forthcoming.

AFP previously debunked other misinformation about Warnock here.