FACT CHECK: Does This Photo Show People At John Lewis’ Funeral Not Wearing Masks?

Trevor Schakohl | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook purportedly shows former President Bill Clinton and others not wearing masks at the funeral of the late Democratic Georgia Rep. John Lewis.

Verdict: False

The photo shows a funeral that took place in 2015, roughly five years before Lewis’ death and the coronavirus pandemic.

Fact Check:

Lewis, a civil rights icon and Georgia congressman, passed away on July 17 at the age of 80, ABC News reported. His funeral service took place on July 30 in Atlanta, according to USA Today.

In recent days, multiple Facebook users have shared a photo of Clinton, Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton and others not wearing face masks, claiming it was taken at Lewis’ funeral. The caption of one such post reads, “July 30, 2020 Funeral NOT A MASK IN SITE (sic) WTF IS ANYONE AWAKE YET.”

The photo, however, was actually taken in September 2015 at the homegoing service for Jackson’s mother, Helen Burns Jackson. It appears in a gallery of dozens of photos taken by Heidi Heilbrunn on the Greenville News website. (RELATED: Does Wearing A Face Mask For 8 Hours Cause Pleurisy?)

The homegoing service for Jackson’s mother occurred roughly five years before Lewis died and before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended people wear face coverings in public to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. The CDC moved to the current guidance on wearing face masks in early April of this year.

While speakers such as former President Barack Obama did remove their masks to deliver remarks at Lewis’ funeral, they appeared to quickly put them back on after stepping away from the podium. Videos and photos from Lewis’ funeral also show attendees wearing face masks during the service.

Trevor Schakohl

Fact Check Reporter
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