FACT CHECK: Alleged Guardian Op-Ed Suggests Joey Barton’s X Following Means ‘We’re Not Really Winning’

Anna Mock | Fact Check Reporter

A photo shared on X, formerly Twitter, alleges The Guardian published an article suggesting that former British soccer player Joey Barton’s X follower count suggests “we’re not really winning.” 

Verdict: False

The screenshot is digitally altered. The Guardian did not publish such an article, a spokesperson for the outlet confirmed in an email to Check Your Fact.

Fact Check: 

Barton has recently come under fire for social media posts criticizing women working in soccer, comparing two female commentators and pundits to serial killers, according to BBC. U.K. Sports Minister Stuart Andrew called the posts “dangerous,” while Barton invited him on his podcast, the outlet reported.

An X screenshot allegedly shows an opinion article from The Guardian commenting on Barton’s X following. The photo mimics The Guardian’s formatting, including a photo of the alleged author on the right.

“The increase in Joey Barton’s X following suggest we’re not really winning,” the alleged headline reads. Underneath a byline crediting a writer named Ash Sarkar, a sub headline reads, “Black Lives Matter, criticising Islam is islamophobic and Trans-women are women. Why doesn’t Barton know this?”

Because of #JoeyBarton woke is no longer winning,” the X caption reads. (RELATED: No, The Guardian Did Not Publish A Headline Calling Looting In France ‘Reparations’)

The screenshot is digitally fabricated, however. The alleged writer, Ash Sarkar, made an X post debunking the claim. “It’s a fake headline from a spoof generator, dummy,” she wrote in response to someone who said, in part, “In answer to Ash Sarkar, I followed Joey Barton this morning he is saying what a lot of people are afraid to say.”  

A search through the Guardian’s site does not yield any matching articles. Likewise, it cannot be found on any of the outlet’s social media accounts. Although it can be easily missed, the screenshot says “The Graniuad” where the Guardian logo should be.

“The screenshot shared has never been an article or headline published by the Guardian,” a spokesperson for the Guardian told Check Your Fact in an email. 

Anna Mock

Fact Check Reporter