FACT CHECK: Viral Image Claims To Show Steve Irwin And Fred Rogers Posing Together
An image shared on Facebook over 30,000 times allegedly shows the late Australian zookeeper Steve Irwin posing for a picture with the late television host Fred Rogers.
“Mr. Rogers wearing a Bob Ross shirt, with Steve Irwin,” reads the caption.
The image is not a genuine photo of the two together, but rather a composite image created by a digital artist.
The widely-shared image shows Irwin smiling with his arm around Rogers, who appears to be wearing a Bob Ross-themed t-shirt that includes the words “Good vibes only.” A rainbow can be seen in the background over Rogers’ shoulder.
A reverse image search revealed the picture is a combination of two separate photos. The photo of Rogers was shared on Facebook in 2013 by Davide’s Tomato Sauce, a Pittsburgh-based tomato sauce company.
“We want to commemorate the passing of Fred Rogers, the warmest heart that ever lived,” reads the post in part. “Good Friends with the owner of Davide’s Tomato Sauce, Fred Rogers and David Calamosca held a strong friendship that was nurtured by the passion of promoting a kind and healthy living.”
In the photo shared by Davide’s Tomato Sauce, Rogers stands alone and wears a white t-shirt sporting the company’s logo. Irwin, the rainbow and the likeness of Ross have been superimposed into the image.
The picture of Irwin can be found on Getty Images. It shows the zookeeper and TV personality posing with his father, Bob, in 2003, according to the image’s caption. (RELATED: Does This Image Show Australian Fires From Above?)
The composite of Irwin and Rogers appears to be a recent creation by the digital artist Vemix. The Instagram account associated with the artist shared the image on March 14 with the caption: “The Wholesome Trinity.”
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Vemix confirmed in an email to Check Your Fact: “I did create that image.” Other composite images can be found on the artist’s website, including Tupac Shakur with Princess Diana, Eminem with Elvis Presley and Mother Teresa with Adolf Hitler.