FACT CHECK: Was A Man In A Bear Costume Arrested For Tearing Up Black Friday Shoppers’ Tents?

Elias Atienza | Senior Reporter

An image shared on Facebook claims to show a man wearing a polar bear costume being arrested for tearing Black Friday shoppers’ tents apart.

Verdict: False

The image of the costumed man being arrested is actually from a 2014 climate protest in New York City. The claim appears to have originated on a satire website.

Fact Check:

Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving known as the start of the holiday shopping season, typically draws crowds of shoppers camped outside waiting for stores to open. More shoppers are likely to choose to shop online this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, USA Today reported.

The Facebook image shares two photos: one which shows what appears to be tents set up outside of a building along with a “breaking news” chyron reading, “Man in bear costume arrested for tearing apart tents of Black Friday shoppers,” and one showing a person dressed in a polar bear costume being taken away in handcuffs by police.

However, there is no evidence that a man wearing a polar bear costume was arrested for antagonizing Black Friday shoppers. Through a reverse image search, Check Your Fact found that the image of the costumed man being arrested was actually taken at a September 2014 climate protest in New York City, according to The Washington Post.

The costumed protester was one of 100 protesters arrested during the protest, according to NBC New York. The arrests came a day after 300,000 people marched in New York City in the “People’s Climate March” to draw attention to climate change and its effects on the planet. (RELATED: Is Minecraft Shutting Down In December?)

The claim may have originated from a 2017 article titled, “Man In Bear Costume Arrested For Tearing Apart Tents Of Black Friday Campers” published on 8 Satire, which describes itself as a “satire news and humor website.” The chyron seen in the Facebook image was likely created on a website that generates prank news chyrons and then added to the picture of tents along with the picture of the man in the polar bear costume being arrested.


Elias Atienza

Senior Reporter
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