FACT CHECK: False Meme Tries To Call Mike Pence’s Sexuality Into Question

Aryssa Damron | Fact Check Reporter

A viral image shared on Facebook tried to call into question Vice President Mike Pence’s sexuality. The meme shows two photos – a professional headshot of Pence alongside a picture of two scantily clad men, implying that the one with his shirt rolled up is Pence.

“Mike pence is trying to have this removed from the internet please share to piss him off,” the caption reads.

Verdict: False

The image on the right is not of a young Pence, but rather a photo of porn star Brad Patton.

Fact Check:

The two images began circulating together in late 2016 in an attempt to raise questions about Pence’s sexuality in light of his conservative stances on issues like gay marriage. People on social media have referred to the photograph as supposed evidence of Pence’s “gay past.”

The photo on the the right is not of Pence, however. As Snopes has pointed out, the picture actually shows figure skater Patton, also known as Joel Mangs. The photo seems to have originated on a MySpace page for colleague Martin Mazza, who included it in a photo album.

Patton is pictured with blonde hair, whereas Pence had dark hair when younger, per a photo of him during his 1988 run for Congress, as well as family photos published by The Republic, a newspaper in Columbus, Indiana.

Pence and his wife Karen have been married since 1985.

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Aryssa Damron

Fact Check Reporter