FACT CHECK: Did Ron Howard Write An Open Letter On What It Means To Be Liberal?
A post shared on Facebook over 4,900 times claims filmmaker Ron Howard wrote an open letter on what being a liberal means to him.
The open letter has been misattributed. Author Lori Gallagher Witt wrote it in January 2018.
The viral Facebook post lists 16 beliefs allegedly held by the “majority of liberals” that Howard knows on political issues such as immigration, health care, taxation and social programs. It also includes an accompanying photo of Howard.
“I’m a liberal, but that doesn’t mean what a lot of you apparently think it does,” reads the introduction of the essay. “Let’s break it down, shall we? Because quite frankly, I’m getting a little tired of being told what I believe and what I stand for.” (RELATED: Did Charlie Daniels Say, ‘Voting For Trump Is Like Playing Country Music Backwards’?)
But Howard did not author the open letter. A search of the filmmaker’s verified social media accounts did not yield any results for the essay. Nor did an internet search turn up any credible sources attributing the essay to him.
The open letter, debunked by several fact-checking websites, was actually written by Witt. Her Facebook post, which only contained 15 beliefs, has been shared over 25,000 times since she posted it on Jan. 7, 2018. It includes a copyright notice and the words “Feel free to share, but please give me credit, and if you add or change anything, please note accordingly.”
Witt told Reuters that the misattribution to Howard started in January 2020, after a man with the same name as the filmmaker posted her words without properly citing her. People posted it “as originating from THE Ron Howard, and it went wild from there,” Witt said, according to Reuters.
While Howard did not write the open letter, he has spoken publicly about his political beliefs in the past. In 2016, he tweeted that he has voted for both parties but planned to vote for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the presidential election.