The claim: Democrats attending John Lewis’ funeral in Atlanta did not wear face coverings
A viral meme on Facebook shows a photo with former President Bill Clinton seated next to the Revs. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson in what appears to be a house of worship. The writing on the photo states “July 30, 2020 Funeral” and then in capital letters “NOT A MASK IN SITE (sic)” and “IS ANYONE AWAKE YET?”
July 30 corresponds to the funeral in Atlanta of Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., a leader of the civil rights movement who served in Congress for 33 years before his death on July 17 from cancer.
The posts alleged hypocrisy on the part of Democrats for not wearing masks to protect against coronavirus.
USA TODAY has reached out to Facebook user David Winter, among the many users who have shared this meme publicly, for comment.
Digging into the claim
The photo used in the meme in question was not taken at Lewis’ funeral. Instead, the photograph was snapped by photographer Heidi Heilbrunn of the Greenville News in Greenville, S.C., on Sept. 14, 2015, during a funeral service for Jackson’s mother, Helen Burns Jackson.
The mourners present included top Democrats, such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who wore a face mask throughout the service. So did former Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, who only removed their face coverings when at the podium to eulogize Lewis.
Our ruling: False
The post is FALSE. It used a photo of an event from five years ago to convey a false claim that is clearly debunked by photos and video of the funeral in Atlanta for John Lewis.
Our fact-check sources:
Greenville News, Clinton attends Jackson funeral, Sept. 14, 2015
YouTube, 11 Alive: John Lewis funeral in Atlanta
YouTube, PBS NewsHour: At John Lewis' Atlanta funeral, a legacy of heroism and hope, July 30
YouTube, CBS News, Watch live: Congressman John Lewis' funeral service, July 30
The Atlanta Journal Constitution, Photos: Atlanta scenes on the day of Rep. John Lewis' funeral, July 30
Town & Country, Congressman John Lewis's Funeral Proceedings in Photos, July 30
The Augusta Chronicle, Photos: John Lewis Funeral in Atlanta (7.30.20)
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Photo of Dems without masks at Lewis funeral is from 2015