Social media users are claiming John Fetterman was caught using a body double, pointing to footage they say shows the US senator without his tattoos. This is false; the screenshots and clips shared online are deceptively cropped to hide the Democrat's forearm ink, which appears in a longer version of the same video.
"It looks like John Fetterman no longer has tattoos on his forearms," says a September 14, 2023 post on X, formerly known as Twitter. "They sure are getting sloppy with these doubles."
Similar posts spread across X and other platforms, including Instagram and TikTok. Internet personalities such as Joey Mannarino and Benny Johnson, both of whom AFP has fact-checked for spreading misinformation, amplified the claim.
Such claims surfaced in March 2023 as the Pennsylvania Democrat prepared to return from a weeks-long hospital stint. Similar rumors and hoaxes have circulated about other public figures, including NFL player Damar Hamlin and singer Avril Lavigne.
Fetterman has rejected the allegations -- and there is no evidence he removed the tattoos on his forearms.
One shows the zip code for Braddock, Pennsylvania, where he served as mayor for more than a decade. The other lists nine dates when people died violently during his tenure.
Fetterman mocked the move by raising his arms to his head, feigning shock. His forearm tattoos were temporarily hidden from the camera.
— Liz Brown-Kaiser (@lizbrownkaiser) September 12, 2023
Another related post on X falsely claims to show photos of Fetterman sporting two different facial hair styles on the same day.
Thought it was time to address the rumor: I do not have a body double. pic.twitter.com/dndGUt9OK7
— John Fetterman (@JohnFetterman) April 18, 2023
AFP reached out to Fetterman's Senate office for additional comment, but no response was forthcoming.