FACT CHECK: Did Time Magazine Publish A Cover Featuring South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol?

Elias Atienza | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook purportedly shows a Time Magazine cover that features newly elected South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol.

Verdict: False

There is no record of Time Magazine publishing such a cover. A spokesperson for the company denied the outlet published the cover.

Fact Check:

Yoon was sworn in as South Korea’s president May 10 after winning the country’s presidential election March 9, according to The New York Times. Skeptics fear he might use the power of the presidency to seek “political revenge” against the opposing party and other political figures, Nikkei Asia reported.

The Facebook image shows a purported May 14 Time Magazine cover that features Yoon and refers to him as “The Executioner.” A line of text beneath those words reads, “The new President of the South Korea, Yoon Seok-yeol, began a ruthless purging.” (RELATED: Does This Image Show A Genuine Time Magazine Cover Related To The Invasion Of Ukraine?)

The cover is fake. It does not appear on Time Magazine’s 2022 cover archive. The outlet published two covers in May, one which shows billionaire Elon Musk and another that features a picture of the ocean and discusses the climate.

A Time Magazine spokesperson confirmed to Check Your Fact in an email that the outlet never published the cover featured in the Facebook post. The fabricated cover does resemble a 2017 cover about South Korea’s previous president, Moon Jae-In. The 2017 cover dubbed the former president “The Negotiator.”

Yoon was selected as one of Time Magazine’s top 100 most influential people of 2022. The article about his selection highlighted his calls for closer relations with the U.S. and a tougher stance against North Korea.

Update: This article has been updated with a response from a Time Magazine spokesperson. 

Elias Atienza

Fact Check Reporter
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