FACT CHECK: Instagram Post Falsely Claims Kristi Noem Banned The Sale Of Watermelon Slices In South Dakota

Christine Sellers | Fact Check Reporter

A post shared on Instagram claims South Dakota Republican Gov. Kristi Noem banned the sale of watermelon slices in her state.


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A post shared by Jeremy Ward (@amazonpissjugs)

Verdict: False

A spokesperson for Noem denied the claim’s validity in an email to Check Your Fact.

Fact Check:

Nearly two-thirds of South Dakotans said they have an “unfavorable view” of Noem following the rollout of her new book, “No Going Back,” according to a poll co-sponsored by South Dakota News Watch. Noem’s killing of an “unruly family hunting dog” is just one of the revelations made in the book, the outlet reported.

The Instagram post, which has garnered over 200 likes as of writing, claims Noem has purportedly banned the sale of watermelon slices in her state. “South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem banned the sale of red watermelon slices, claiming it to be anti-Semitic, as it symbolizes the Palestinian flag. In defiance, people took to the streets, distributing watermelon slices to support Palestine,” the post, which originally stems from a May 15 tweet, reads.

The tweet features a video of a young woman wearing a keffiyeh scarf and handing out watermelon slices.

The claim is false, however. The claim neither appears on Noem’s website nor her verified social media accounts. Likewise, Check Your Fact found no credible news reports to support the claim. In fact, the opposite is true. USA Today also reported the claim is false via a May 17 article.

Additionally, Ian Fury, a spokesperson for Noem, denied the claim’s validity in an email to Check Your Fact.

“There is no truth to this [claim],” Fury said.

The watermelon represents a symbol of “Palestinian solidarity,” according to TIME. According to the magazine, the symbol is “not new,” but “first emerged after the Six-Day War in 1967, when Israel seized control of the West Bank and Gaza, and annexed East Jerusalem.” At the time, Palestinians used watermelon to get around a ban imposed by the Israeli government, which made publicly displaying the Palestinian flag a “criminal offense.” (RELATED: X Image Showing Baby Beside Dead Mother In Rafah Is AI-Generated)

This is not the first time a false claim has circulated online. Check Your Fact previously debunked a social media post claiming the city of Chicago ceremonially raised the Palestinian flag.

Christine Sellers

Fact Check Reporter