A roundup of some of the most popular but completely untrue headlines of the week. None of these stories is legit, even though they were shared widely on social media. The Associated Press checked these out. Here are the real facts:
Not real: ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’: Christmas 2021
The facts: Sorry, Betty White fans. The 96-year-old won’t be starring in an upcoming Disney remake of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.” The studio has no plans for one. An online image that appears to promote a Christmas 2021 release of a star-studded Disney revival of the classic is false. The image features headshots of nine actors with the names of characters written under the photos, including Andy Serkis as Quasimodo, Gal Gadot as Esmeralda, Betty White as Laverne, and Jack Black as Hugo. It’s unclear where the image originated, but it has been circulating on Facebook pages. A Disney representative confirmed the image is not real and that the company has no such production in the works.
Not real: Mexico Reduces Legal Age Of Sexual Consent To 12
The facts: Mexico has not lowered its age for sexual consent to 12, contrary to claims circulating on the internet. Conservative commentator Ann Coulter tweeted on June 30 that the age of consent in Mexico is now “12 for the whole country,” and linked to a false story on the YourNewsWire website making the same claim. Mexico raised its age for sexual consent from 12 to 15 in 2012, according to a review of historical changes to the penal code available online from the Mexican government. Prior to the change, sexual activity involving children from the age of 12 through 17 could still be prosecuted under laws governing corruption of minors, or if consent was obtained through deceit. Those restrictions now apply to children 15 to 17 years old. The most recent version of the penal code is dated June 21, 2018. There has been no new legislation to change that. The YourNewsWire story linked to a Wikipedia page about the age of consent in North and Central America, which in turn linked to an outdated version of the penal code on the Wayback Machine, which preserves and archives webpages even after they are deleted or defunct. YourNewsWire did not provide comment on the story.
Not real: FBI: Clinton Campaign Official Arrested On Child Rape Charges
The facts: A 22-year-old Columbia University student accused of child sex crimes did not work as an official for Hillary Clinton’s campaign as multiple online sites are reporting. The erroneous claims follow the June arrest of Joel Davis, a college student who campaigned at the United Nations and elsewhere against child sexual abuse. He has been charged with having sex with a 13-year-old boy and seeking sex images of children as young as 2 years old. The reports appear to rely on a 2016 photo of Davis wearing a Clinton button and posing with supporters in front of her campaign posters. Some stories label him as Clinton campaign official while others refer to him as her campaign chair. “FBI: Clinton Campaign Official Arrested On Child Rape Charges” was the headline on YourNewsWire and True Pundit. Davis was never employed with the campaign, Hillary Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill said in an email. An archive search of newspapers, wire services and television transcripts found nothing to suggest he was a member of the Clinton campaign team. YourNewsWire did not respond to requests for comment and True Pundit could not be reached.
This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.