Fact check: Girl pictured with Barack Obama in viral posts is his niece
Claim: The child sitting on Obama's lap is a "pedovore" victim
A picture of former President Barack Obama holding a little girl on his lap has been the subject of various claims on social media that the girl was a victim.
A viral version of the claim posted on Facebook on September 13th is a meme of the picture. The president, whose face was turned towards the girl's neck, is described in the meme as "Pedovore".
The term originated in QAnon conspiracy theories, according to a Twitter hashtag, and is an obvious combination of "pedophile" and "carnivore".
“Pedovores are friends with their prey, then hold them back, frighten them pointlessly, injure them for the release of maximum adenochrome, and then drink the child's blood while they are still alive, ultimately leading to cardiac arrest after following the child to have consumed death, "says the meme.
The meme is part of another claim that the same user posted on Facebook on the same date. It shows a girl on a boat with Obama and the actor George Clooney. The caption is simply "# WWG1WGA".
USA TODAY has requested a comment from the user.
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The former leader of the nation appears to be enjoying Clooney's company.
What does 'WWG1WGA' stand for?
According to an Amazon author's site, the phrase is a well-known motto among QAnon loyalists, an acronym for "Wherever we go, we all go". It is also used as a collective term for contributors to the QAnon field guide, "QAnon: An Invitation to the Great Awakening," which is sold on Amazon.
In an Amazon review of another QAnon book, "The Russia Hoax: The Illegal Scheme to Eliminate Hillary Clinton and Frame Donald Trump," WWG1WGA, Adenochrom, and "Pedovores" are only mentioned in the title.
"Enlighten yourself with the hideous corruption of the swamp and Obama's betrayal of our country," wrote a reviewer named "Zach".
What is adenochrome?
Adenochrome is an oxidized by-product of adrenaline, according to an American Chemical Society article. Some biotech companies sell the chemical to researchers, and in some countries it is mandatory to encourage blood clotting, according to the National Library of Medicine.
Conspiracy theorists, however, claim adenochrome is a psychedelic drug that was harvested by the "global elites" to fuel satanic rituals in which participants drink the blood of children, according to a report by The Daily Beast.
A secret video allegedly stored on former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner's laptop allegedly shows former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Weiner's ex-wife Huma Abedin performing such a ritual, according to The Daily Beast.
The theory called "Frazzledrip" was so well received on YouTube that Google CEO Sundar Pichai was asked two years ago by the House Judiciary Committee whether YouTube's algorithms helped spread conspiracy theories, Vox reported.
More: Debunked QAnon conspiracy theories infiltrate popular social media. Do not be fooled.
Who is the girl that was photographed with Obama?
The girl sitting on Obama's lap in the suit is his niece Savita Ng, the daughter of Obama's half-sister Maya Soetoro-Ng.
The December 4, 2015 picture was captured by White House photographer Pete Souza, according to Obama's White House Flickr report.
"The president snuggles up with his niece, Savita Ng, after his sister Maya Soetoro-Ng and her family drop by the Oval Office," the caption reads.
An older picture of Obama with a baby Savita is available on the White House's Flickr page. She is identified again as his niece.
But images of the Obama family on a boat trip on Lake Como in Italy with actor George Clooney and his wife Amal Clooney were used to build on the "pedovore" conspiracy theory. The banned Twitter account @WinstonCovfefe appears to be a source of the rumor.
More: Barack Obama and George Clooney take a boat trip on Lake Como
Former President Barack Obama (left) and George Clooney on a boat on June 23, 2019.
"What was going on back then? Why does it look like Clooney is pulling his pants back up? Why does #Obama look stunned? Who is this very young girl?" @WinstonCovfefe wrote in a now archived post that included a picture of Clooney apparently touching his stomach while standing near Obama and a young girl.
There was a lot of media coverage about the boat trip, including USA TODAY. Celebrity gossip website Just Jared also posted pictures on its website on June 24, 2019, the day after.
It is not known if the girl on the boat is Obama's niece, but there is evidence that the Ng family joined the Obama on their trip. A picture from June 25, 2019 with the geotag "Lake Como, Italy" was published on the Instagram account of Obama's brother-in-law Konrad Ng. It's archived here.
Matteo Bazzi, photographer for the Italian news agency ANSA, told AFP News that he photographed the Obamas and Clooneys on the boat and said nothing suspicious had happened.
"I was not aware of this gossip," Bazzi said, according to AFP.
Our rating: wrong
We rate this claim as FALSE based on our research. The girl in the original claim is confirmed to be Obama's niece. A "pedovore" is the terminology of the QAnon conspiracy theory, and there is no evidence to suggest that Obama behaved inappropriately while traveling to Italy with a child.
Our fact-checking sources:
Santa Cruz Biotechnology, accessed September 30, 2020: "Adrenochrome (CAS 54-06-8)"
National Library of Medicine, Retrieved September 30, 2020: "Carbazochrome"
Amazon Author Page, Customer Review, accessed September 30, 2020: "The Russia Hoax: The Illegal Scheme to Eliminate Hillary Clinton and Frame Donald Trump"
Vox, December 14, 2018: "YouTube's Conspiracy Theory Crisis Explained"
@WinstonCovfefe archived tweet July 9, 2019
AFP Fact Check, Aug 14, 2020: "Conspiracy Theory Falsely Associates Obama with Sexual Misconduct"
Konrad Ng archived Instagram post, archived on August 13, 2020
Just Jared, June 24, 2019: "George Clooney and Barack Obama meet together in Italy!"
USA TODAY, June 24, 2019: "Barack Obama and George Clooney take a boat trip on Lake Como"
Obama White House flickr, accessed September 30, 2020: "The President snuggles up with his niece Savita Ng after his sister Maya Soetoro-Ng and her family drop by the Oval Office."
Obama's White House Flickr, accessed September 30, 2020: "President Barack Obama helps his niece Savita as she approaches the President's Personal Advisor, Reggie Love, in the Oval Office on September 17, 2009."
The Daily Beast, Aug 14, 2020: "How QAnon Became Obsessed with Adrenochrome, an Imaginary Drug Hollywood" Gets "From Children
USA TODAY, August 24, 2008: "Obama's half-sister is evidence of a solid upbringing"
The American Chemical Society, July 14, 2014: "Oxidation of Adrenaline to Adrenochrome by Cetyltrimethylammonium Dichromate: A Mechanistic Study"
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Our fact-checking is partly supported by a grant from Facebook.
People march in front of the Capitol during a Save the Children rally in St. Paul, Minnesota on August 22, 2020. Hundreds of rallies are scheduled across the country today to fight human trafficking and pedophilia. Some of these have been linked to social media accounts promoting the QAnon conspiracy.
This article originally appeared in the US TODAY: fact check: girl with Barack Obama in viral posts is his niece
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