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The claim: Mike Tyson wore a shirt that read, 'TRUST IN GOD... NOT IN VACCINES'
As vaccination efforts continue across the globe, opponents are pushing false narratives online to cast doubt on the safety and efficiency of vaccines.
Some users are sharing a photo of legendary boxer Mike Tyson wearing a T-shirt with the text: “TRUST IN GOD... NOT IN VACCINES.”
One Facebook user shared the image to a conspiracy theory Facebook group on June 30 with the caption, “Here's a short message from one of the most feared men on earth.”
However, Tyson didn’t wear any such T-shirt. The photograph is altered.
USA TODAY reached out to several users that posted the altered image for comment.
The original photo says nothing about vaccines
The boxer posted the original image on Nov. 23, 2020, in an Instagram carousel. That image shows the real T-shirt had a photo of Tyson boxing and his surname. In the caption, Tyson urged followers to purchase the T-shirt and other merchandise from the Mike Tyson Collection.
Tyson posted the same photo again on Nov. 28, 2020, to promote his Fight Night limited-edition merchandise collection.
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Tyson’s publicist, Jo Mignano, confirmed the image was altered and “not true” in an email to USA TODAY.
Neither USA TODAY nor Check Your Fact could find any instances where Tyson has spoken publicly about his views on vaccinations on social media, although he did once interview anti-vaccine activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on his podcast "HotBoxin' with Mike Tyson."
Fact-checkers have previously debunked another altered photo that appeared to show Tyson wearing a T-shirt that referenced other COVID-19 conspiracy theories.
Our rating: Altered
A viral photo that appears to show Mike Tyson wearing a shirt that reads, “TRUST IN GOD... NOT IN VACCINES” is ALTERED. The original photo, which Tyson shared on Instagram in late 2020, shows the T-shirt he was wearing said nothing about vaccines. Tyson’s publicist confirmed the image is not real.
Our fact check sources:
Mike Tyson, Nov. 23, 2020, Instagram post
Mike Tyson, Nov. 28, 2020, Instagram post
Jo Mignano, June 30, email correspondence with USA TODAY
Check Your Fact, June 29, FACT CHECK: DID MIKE TYSON WEAR A ‘TRUST IN GOD, NOT IN VACCINES’ SHIRT?
Accessed June 30, Twitter search
Mike Tyson, Sept. 17, 2020, Robert Kennedy Jr. | Hotboxin' with Mike Tyson
Full Fact, April 29, Photo of Mike Tyson in ‘Plan-Demic’ t-shirt has been edited
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Image of Mike Tyson in T-shirt about vaccines is altered