FACT CHECK: Did Denzel Washington Say ‘Democrat Elites’ Blackmailed Him For Liking Donald Trump?

Ryan King | Contributor

An image shared on Facebook purportedly shows a Telegram message from actor Denzel Washington claiming he was blackmailed by “democrat elites” because he “respects President Trump.”

Verdict: False

The Telegram channel shown in the post is not Washington’s Telegram channel. There is no record of Washington saying he was threatened to lose his career for respecting former President Donald Trump.

Fact Check:

Washington, known for starring in the movies “Safe House” and “Training Day,” has been the subject of misinformation related to his political views in the past. For instance, in 2016, a post on social media circulated that falsely claimed Washington praised Trump, BBC News reported.

The post on Facebook shows what appears to be a screenshot of a Telegram channel claiming to be run by Washington. Telegram is an online messaging platform that allows users to send direct messages to each other, and create “channels” to send public messages to groups of people, according to the platform’s website.

“The democrat elites blackmailed me several times because I wanted to stand up and declare myself as a Patriot who respects President Trump and loves our beautiful Country,” the screen grabbed message reads. “They said that I would lose my career and be criticized by Hollywood. I accept that. I would rather be a free man than a slave to the epic propaganda spread by the media.”

There is, however, no record of Washington actually sending this message. There are several other Telegram channels that also claim to be Washington’s “one and only Telegram Channel,” and that post many of the same messages, including the one shown in the Facebook post. Telegram allows for official channels to be verified, but neither the channel shown in the Facebook post, nor the four others purporting to be Washington are verified.

A wider internet search turned up no news reports of Washington ever saying such a thing in any context. Washington’s publicist confirmed in an email to Check Your Fact that the Telegram channels are not Washington, saying, “It’s all fake.” (RELATED: Did Denzel Washington Say He’s Leaving The Democratic Party To Help ‘Team Trump’?)

The message on Telegram does not seem to match Washington’s previous public statements on politics. In a December 2016 interview at a screening of his movie “Fences,” Washington was asked about who he voted for in the 2016 election, to which he answered, “None of your business.” Campaign finance database Open Secrets shows that Washington has previously donated money to Democratic presidential candidates, including former President Barack Obama in 2008 and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Ryan King