Fact Check: Elon Musk Did NOT Wear T-Shirt Depicting Offensive Cartoon Aimed At Ukrainians

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  • Автор: Lead Stories Staff
Fact Check: Elon Musk Did NOT Wear T-Shirt Depicting Offensive Cartoon Aimed At Ukrainians Fabricated

Did Elon Musk pose in a T-shirt printed with folkloric-looking Ukrainians and captioned with Russian swear words? No, that's not true: The image was manipulated from a photo of Musk taken during the Sundance Film Festival in 2015. Musk had appeared wearing a shirt featuring the American rock band Tesla.

The claim appeared on TikTok (archived here) on January 9, 2024, by @nata__789__. The post was captioned (translated from Russian to English by Lead Stories staff):

Shall we check it out?

This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:

Musk.jpg

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Wed Jan 10 15:54:16 2024 UTC)

A reverse image search on Yandex on January 10, 2024 (archived here) revealed that this photo has been circulating on Russian-speaking social media networks, especially Telegram, since late 2023, such as here (archived here), here (archived here), and here (archived here). The wording on the T-shirt, as translated, contains profanity in Russian and reads:

Khokhly, what the fuck is wrong with your fucking face?

The term "khokhol" (or "khokhly" in the plural) is frequently employed by Russians as an ethnic slur against Ukrainians. The epithet is humorously interpreted as "What happened?" and has evolved into an Internet meme.

The Yandex reverse-image search (archived here) found another picture of Elon Musk. In this one, he's wearing a different T-shirt featuring the Tesla rock band (archived here) and posing at the Sundance Film Festival. A Google search (archived here) with the keywords "Elon Musk," "Tesla t-shirt" and "Sundance Film Festival" uncovered information confirming that Musk was present (archived here) at the 2015 Sundance Independent Film Festival (archived here). In the photo, he is seen posing in a shirt with the image of the American rock band (archived here). The creators of the manipulated image in the TikTok post used this photo.

This is what the original picture of Musk looked like:

Elon musk.png

(Source: poststar.com screenshot taken on Thu Jan 11 12:45:04 2024 UTC)

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Lead Stories is a fact checking website that is always looking for the latest false, deceptive or inaccurate stories (or media) making the rounds on the internet.

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