FACT CHECK: Viral Image Attempts To Spread False Claims About George Soros
An image shared on Facebook more than 17,000 times makes a number of claims about billionaire investor George Soros.
There is no evidence to substantiate any of the claims.
Soros, a Hungarian-American billionaire, has donated to various progressive causes through his Open Society Foundations. His wealth and charitable donations to such causes appear to have made him a popular target for online conspiracy theories over the years.
“George Soros ex-Nazi billionaire Has Sworn to ‘Destroy the USA,'” alleges one Facebook post. “He OWNS Antifa, most of the members of congress, Black Lives Matter, and Acorn to name a few of his Anti-American organizations. He also paid for all of the ‘spontaneous’ protests the day after Trump was elected.”
Open Society Foundations denied all these claims about Soros, telling Reuters via email that they are “false” and “do a disservice to the very bedrock of our democracy, as enshrined in the First Amendment.”
The claim that Soros is a former Nazi has previously circulated, despite there being no truth to it. Soros would have been officially too young to join the Schutzstaffel during the Nazi occupation of Hungary and, as a Jew, would not have met the “Aryan” heritage requirement. To survive during the Nazi occupation, his family forged government documents to hide their Jewish identities, according to BBC News.
The Daily Caller News Foundation found no evidence of Soros ever saying he wants to “destroy the USA.” It appears to stem from a fake quote – “I’ve made it my life’s mission to destroy the United States” – that has been thoroughly debunked by fact-checkers.
Similarly, the post’s claim that Soros “OWNS Antifa, most of the members of congress, Black Lives Matter, and Acorn” is baseless. (RELATED: Is Gretchen Whitmer The Niece Of George Soros?)
Antifa, short for anti-fascist, is “an umbrella term for far-left-leaning militant groups that confront or resist neo-Nazis and white supremacists at demonstrations,” according to the Associated Press. The movement lacks official leaders and is organized into local cells, making the claim that Soros owns it dubious.
Black Lives Matter is a “member-led global network of more than 40 chapters,” according to the Black Lives Matter Global Network website. The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) appears to be similarly grassroots-based. While Open Society Foundations has donated to them in the past, the DCNF found no evidence that Soros “OWNS” either.
The notion that Soros owns members of Congress also doesn’t hold up. Members of Congress receive financial contributions from a large number of individuals and organizations. Campaign finance law limits the amount of money Soros, the Open Society Foundations and the Soros Fund Management, as well as others, can donate to politicians.
The claim about the protests the day after President Donald Trump got elected appears to reference the popular but baseless theory that Soros pays protesters. Check Your Fact and other fact-checkers have debunked such a notion, and the Open Society Foundations has as well.
“We do not pay protesters. Neither does our founder George Soros,” the Open Society Foundations tweeted. “Claims that we do serve to delegitimize those who are exercising their Constitutionally-protected right to protest peacefully and petition their government for redress of grievances.”
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