FACT CHECK: Does This Photo Show Young Bernie Sanders At The Stonewall Riots?

Matt Noel | Fact Check Reporter

A viral Instagram post with more than 8,600 likes allegedly shows young Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders at the 1969 Stonewall riots.


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Verdict: False

The photo doesn’t appear to resemble any archival images of the Stonewall riots. A spokesman for the Sanders campaign confirmed the young man in the photo is not the Vermont senator.

Fact Check:

Shortly after Sanders won the New Hampshire primary, a black-and-white photo of four women and a man standing up against a wall started circulating widely on Instagram and Twitter, with some users alleging the man wearing the black turtleneck is “Bernie Sanders at the stonewall (sic) riots.”

The Stonewall uprising occurred following a June 28, 1969, police raid that targeted gay patrons at the Stonewall Inn in New York City. The riots are widely considered a catalyst for the modern LGBTQ rights movement.

The image, however, doesn’t resemble any archival photos of the 1969 Stonewall uprising available online. Social media users have used a colorized version of the image to poke fun at hipsters and Tumblr users since at least December 2014, further adding to the post’s dubiousness.

Mike Casca, a campaign spokesman for Sanders, told The Associated Press that the Vermont senator isn’t pictured. (RELATED: Did Bernie Sanders Say The US Has ‘Had Enough With White Men In Places Of Power’?)

Sanders has publicly supported gay rights in the past. For instance, the Vermont Senator spoke against the controversial “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, which permitted gay and lesbian Americans to serve in the military as long as they hid their sexualities, and the Defense of Marriage Act, which proposed defining marriage as between a man and a woman, according to The New York Times.

Matt Noel

Fact Check Reporter
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