FactCheck Social Media

Fake Jim Carrey COVID-19 quote is no laughing matter

2020-11-17 16:17:37

The Statement

A Facebook post claims that actor and comedian Jim Carrey said COVID-19 is being used to manipulate the world through fear.

The November 4 post includes a photo of Jim Carrey alongside the quote: “The virus has proved that the entire world can be easily manipulated through fear by simply controlling media, academia, & medicine”.

At the time of writing, the post had attracted more than 100 reactions and been shared more than 330 times, including by users in Fiji and Australia.

Several similar memes attributing the quote to Carrey have spread on social media, including one posted to the Facebook page for self-described “activist mommy” Elizabeth Johnston, a conservative commentator, which has been shared more than 4000 times.

Jim Carrey quote Facebook post
 Multiple memes featuring a purported Jim Carrey quote have been circulating on social media. 

The Analysis

Actor and comedian Jim Carrey has been outspoken about COVID-19 after the virus swept through the US – but his comments have largely been focused on criticising President Donald Trump’s handling of the pandemic.

There is no evidence to suggest he made the purported comment, and his representative told AAP FactCheck the statement had falsely been attributed to Carrey.

The same quote was shared online without attribution as early as March 10, when a meme including the statement was posted on Facebook. This example has since been shared more than 143,000 times, however it includes no reference to the actor.

A week later, the same wording appeared in a meme that included Carrey’s face and his name next to the comments, which were surrounded in quote marks. This version has been shared more than 1000 times in the case of one post, while it has since been recreated and shared in numerous other posts (including here and here).

None of the memes included information about where or when Carrey made the purported remarks.

In an email to AAP FactCheck, Carrey’s publicist, Marleah Leslie, said he did not make the statement.

“The quote you are referring to was not made by my client Jim Carrey,” she said.

Wording used in the quote does not appear on Carrey’s Twitter feed, nor does it appear from legitimate sources in Google searches.

A search through archives of Carrey’s Twitter account, his only official social media profile, also show no sign of any later-deleted comments that match the quote from the period between the outbreak of COVID-19 and March 10, when the meme appeared.

Carrey did not post about the pandemic during this period. His first tweet relating to COVID-19 was posted on March 25 and it criticises US President Donald Trump’s handling of the health crisis.

In public statements, Carrey has expressed his concern about the virus and has called for more action to be taken to reduce the death toll, at odds with the purported quote.

He has created multiple artworks and cartoons criticising President Trump’s handling of the pandemic (here, here, here) and has repeatedly tweeted his concerns about the mounting death toll of COVID-19 in the US (here, here and here).

In an opinion piece published in The Atlantic in September, Carrey criticised Mr Trump and the Republican Party for not listening to scientists during the pandemic.

The actor has previously attracted controversy for his opposition to a California law change which reduced exemptions to childhood vaccinations.

At the time, he claimed that children could be poisoned by mercury and aluminium in the vaccines, referred to the Californian administration as “fascist and labelled the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as corrupt. His comments were criticised as not understanding the science behind vaccines.

Carrey later stated he was “pro-vaccine” but “anti-neurotoxin”. The actor has previously been falsely credited with a comment stating that America was “morally upside down”, according to a 2018 Snopes fact check.

Jim Carrey
 Actor Jim Carrey has been critical of President Donald Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Verdict

There is no evidence from credible sources that Jim Carrey made the statement in the Facebook post. His publicist denied he made the comments, and they are at odds with his public statements – which have expressed concern about COVID-19 and been critical of US President Donald Trump’s handling of the pandemic.

False – Content that has no basis in fact.

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