This photo of a Black medical team saving a KKK member is actually… an ad

An image widely shared on social media over the past years is presented as showing a Black medical team saving a Ku Klux Klan (KKK) member. It is actually an ad published in an Australian magazine in the early 2000s.

“Black nurses saving a KKK member.” This is the caption for several publications, some of which -- such as this one -- were shared several thousand times.

The image is truly worth a thousand words: a Black medical team rushes around a white man lying supine on an operating table, apparently injured in the abdomen. The injured man is wearing the iconic white attire of the KKK, complete with a pointed hood and the Klan’s symbol on its chest.

Many Facebook accounts claiming to publish historical images, such as the one below, this one in Polish, or this English account on Twitter, also posted this photo with a false caption.

Screenshot of a Facebook post on November 7, 2018

This image is actually from an ad campaign published in Australian magazine Large, as the American fact-checking website Snopes pointed out, and which none of the recent social media posts specify.

Harry Rekas, founder of Large magazine (which is no longer in publication), told AFP that indeed, "the image was staged. It was done around 2001."

The creator of the image is Sean Izzard. The original shot appears on his personal website in high definition, with the caption “Large Magazine”, to which it was sold. Other images from the same series are visible, such as this and this.

Contacted for further information about the photograph, Izzard had not answered AFP at the time of publication.

With the series “For people who think bigger than they are,” Large magazine wanted to showcase individuals acting nobly in the face of adversity. A Russian website reproduced several of the images from the series.

Rémi Banet
Guillaume Daudin