British actor Tim Roth poses during a photo call at the 74th edition of the Cannes Film Festival in France on July 12, 2021 ( AFP / Valery Hache)

Anti-mask message falsely attributed to actor Tim Roth

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A photo of English actor Tim Roth has been shared thousands of times on social media alongside a message criticizing the use of masks to curb the spread of Covid-19. But the actor's spokeswoman said the remark did not come from him, and he has publicly expressed support for masks.

“Wear a mask or don't," says text accompanying a photo of Roth in a July 30, 2021 Facebook post.

"YOU'VE EITHER HAD COVID, OR YOU'LL GET COVID. YOU'LL EITHER DIE OR BE LIKE THE 99.5 % AND RECOVER. IT'S NOT GOING ANYWHERE. YOUR GOVERNMENT CANNOT KEEP YOU SAFE FROM A VIRUS. BUT THEY CAN TAKE YOUR LIBERTY. SO STAY HOME. WEAR A MASK. CONVINCE YOURSELF YOU'RE SAFE. LET THE REST OF US LIVE OUR LIVES," it says.

A screenshot of a Facebook post taken on August 4, 2021

The text and image have appeared on social media for at least a year, as seen in this July 2020 Facebook post, which came during widespread mask mandates that some cast as an encroachment on personal freedom.

The US lifted indoor mask guidance for the vaccinated in May, but reinstated it in late July for people in high-risk areas. The post with Roth's picture is now circulating again, but he did not make the remark.

"Someone has clearly made this up. Tim has never said anything like this," his spokeswoman Staci Wolfe from Polaris Public Relations told AFP.

The actor has previously expressed support for mask use, posting on Instagram in 2020: "Stay safe all! Wear a mask."

A screenshot taken on August 4, 2021 shows a post on actor Tim Roth's Instagram account

An online search also did not reveal any record of the actor making the anti-mask remark. The text appears to have been added to the photo of Roth using meme generator Mematic, which is referenced in the bottom left corner of the image.

AFP Fact Check has previously debunked messages incorrectly associated with celebrities here, here, and here.

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