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Jeff Cercone
By Jeff Cercone March 27, 2023

No, this photo doesn’t show a John Fetterman body double. Here’s why.

If Your Time is short

  • This photo doesn’t show a body double for Sen. John Fetterman, D-Pa. The photo that claims to show the "new" Fetterman was taken in May 2022.

Some social media users shared an old photo of Sen. John Fetterman, D-Pa., as evidence that he has been replaced by a body double.

"The new bootleg John Fetterman," one Facebook user wrote in a caption on a March 25 post. It included a screenshot of a tweet which showed side-by-side photos of Fetterman and the words, "It’s a miracle … In only 3 weeks, John Fetterman got a total head replacement. Man, he has some good doctors."

We found multiple social media posts alleging an attempt to present a fake Fetterman to replace the senator, who some falsely claimed is brain damaged or dead. Other posts have wrongly claimed he resigned.

The posts were flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

But the supposed "new" photo of Fetterman is 9 months old. 

A reverse image search shows the photo on the left in the posts was taken Feb. 7 and shared by Fetterman on Twitter when he announced his guest for President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address.

The photo on the right, which the posts attempt to pass off as new, appeared in news articles May 22, 2022, after the then-candidate was released from the hospital following a stroke.

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Fetterman’s wife, Gisele Barreto Fetterman tweeted a video of the couple leaving the hospital that day, and each is wearing the same attire seen in the photo.

Fetterman suffered a stroke in May 2022 during his Senate campaign. He has been hospitalized for depression since mid-February 2023. Fetterman’s office said March 23 that it expects the senator to be released from the hospital soon, but gave no exact timeline. His chief of staff and his wife have recently shared photos of Fetterman in the hospital.

Differences in Fetterman’s appearance in the close-up photos in the social media posts could result from the photographers’ camera angles, the lens used and the distance from the subject, as several Twitter users pointed out.

Body doubles have been a popular conspiracy in recent years — we’ve debunked several involving Biden.

We rate the claim that photos show Fetterman has a body double Pants on Fire!


Our Sources

Facebook post, March 25, 2023

Tweet, March 24, 2023

Gisele Barreto Fetterman, tweet, May 22, 2022 

Gisele Barreto Fetterman, tweet, March 10, 2023

John Fetterman, tweet, Feb. 7, 2023

Adam Jentleson, chief of staff for John Fetterman, tweet, March 6, 2023

Philadelphia Inquirer, ​​John Fetterman has been hospitalized for depression for five weeks. His staff says he’ll be back soon., March 24, 2023

WHTM, ABC 27, "New images released of John Fetterman at Walter Reed Medical Center," March 6, 2023

WESA, Pittsburgh NPR station, "John Fetterman leaves Lancaster hospital for Braddock to recover from stroke," May 22, 2022

Metro Philadelphia, "Fetterman released from hospital after stroke," May 22, 2022

The Associated Press, "Fetterman expected back ‘soon,’ but no certain timeline yet," March 23, 2023

The Associated Press, "Sen. John Fetterman checks into hospital for depression," Feb. 16, 2023

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No, this photo doesn’t show a John Fetterman body double. Here’s why.

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