George Orwell’s 1984 book quote is false

FactCheck July 10, 2019

The Statement

AAP FactCheck examined a Facebook post by a news/media company One Eye Hawk from July 8, 2019, that claimed to be a quote from George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984, published in 1949. 

This Facebook post from July 8, 2019, claims to be a quote from George Orwell’s novel 1984.

The quote reads: “The people will not revolt. They will not look up from their screens long enough to notice what is happening.” The quote appears on an image of three women looking down at their mobile phones.

At the time of publication, the post had been shared more than 160 times and had attracted over 110 reactions.

One Eyed Hawk states it is “committed to educating ourselves and others by sharing insightful, inspiring news/media articles that support people, the environment, spiritual growth and development”. 

The Analysis

AAP FactCheck found the word “revolt” appeared  six times in the novel 1984, and the quote in the Facebook post, does not appear in this exact or similar form.

The statement most similar to the quote on Facebook in 1984 is: “The masses never revolt of their own accord, and they never revolt merely because they are oppressed.”

UK entertainment company Hot Ticket Offers tweeted the quote from the stage play 1984 on August 2, 2014 as an incentive to buy tickets.

The Facebook quote comes from a 2013 stage adaptation of George Orwell’s 1984 book. 

Corey McMahon is the associate director of the 1984 stage production in Australia, which toured in 2017. Mr McMahon said the production encouraged audiences to look at the world differently and to see what they were missing while they were busy using social media. He said the line was written for one of the Big Brother characters named O’Brien in play.

The 1984 stage adaptation also had a season on Broadway in 2017. In a review of the play for Spectrum News, critic Roma Torre referenced the line spoken by the character O’Brien, labelling it terrifying in predicting “our current state of apathy.

The line also appears in a 2014 tweet by Hot Ticket Offers, a British entertainment discount company, and is attributed to the play. The play toured the UK in 2013 and was staged in London from 2014 – 2016.

The Verdict 

Based on this evidence AAP FactCheck finds the quote posted on Facebook on July 8, 2019 is false. The quote “The people will not revolt. They will not look up from their screens long enough to notice what is happening,” comes from a stage adaptation of 1984, not the original novel by George Orwell.

  • False – The Facebook post is false

 First published Wednesday July 10, 2019 13:05 AEST

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