Did Kamala Harris fake plane boarding? Truth behind viral pic with lookalike near stairs against green screen
A bizarre photo of a person about to climb some steps toward a green screen has gone viral on Facebook, with conspiracy theorists claiming that it shows Vice President Kamala Harris 'staging' a fake photo-op of her boarding an airplane. The photo post in question was first floated on Facebook on May 16.
It shows a person wearing a black coat and black Converse shoes with their back to the camera. The person, surrounded by four men in uniform, stands at the base of a movable flight of stairs that lead up to a green screen. "ENJOYING THE SHOW EVERYONE KAMALA JUST ABOUT TO BOARD THE GREEN SCREEN ENJOY THE MOVIE," read the caption on the photo. The post in question had gathered more than 500 interactions. It was understandable how people would mistake the figure in the photo for Harris as the VP is known to wear white and black Converse sneakers.
'Designated Survivor' photo
However, according to USA Today, the image predates the Biden administration. The photo was originally lifted from Twitter, off a May 2017 post which was posted by Kal Penn, actor and former associate director for the White House's Office of Public Engagement during the Obama administration.
In his May 3, 2017, post, which was also uploaded on Instagram, Penn posted a photo from the sets of the show 'Designated Survivor,' which is a political drama, in which he played the character of Seth Wright.
While it is not known who the person in the black coat is, as seen in the viral photo, it is for certain not Harris. At the time of the original post, Harris was still a California senator.
There are also other images and videos, circulating online, that claim to show Harris 'faking' photos of her boarding an airplane, which have no basis in truth.
TikTok video debunked
For example, an edited video was posted on TikTok that shows Harris speaking to a person in uniform and walking toward a staircase on a tarmac. Since the clip abruptly cuts out, it left many in confusion. "She goes up the stairs, but where is the plane?" one social media user wrote in an April 24 tweet, which had the video. The post had about 176,000 views.
She goes up the stairs, but where is the plane? 🧐 pic.twitter.com/IyaOgf5lUb— Teresa 🗣 “Joe, you know Trump won.” (@thorsome2) April 24, 2021
However, photos from Reuters and Getty Images have already debunked the conspiracy theory that Harris staged the scene. Snaps matching the video, taken on April 19 show Harris walking alongside a woman in uniform and then walking up the steps. While the TikTok video concludes before the airplane can be seen, the aircraft can be seen behind Harris in the images supplied by Getty and Reuters.
"US Vice President Kamala Harris waves as she boards Air Force Two at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, US," reads the caption for one of the Reuters photos. She was on her way to North Carolina, according to another photo from Getty Images. In fact, there is a YouTube video from April 20 which had part of the footage that the TikTok video used. In the longer video, Harris boards the aircraft.