A digitally altered image attributed to President Joe Biden’s verified personal Twitter account is circulating online. The fake tweet, proliferated across social media platforms in the context of an anti-gay bill recently passed by the Ugandan parliament, reads “Uganda’s ban on LGBT community will not be taken lightly, I want to urge the President of Uganda to uplift the ban or face economic sanctions.” The fabricated image also features fake replies to the tweet from accounts purporting to be those of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The image has been fabricated. An advanced Twitter search of both Biden’s personal account and of the account attached to the office of the president reveals no evidence of the tweet. The Twitter handle attached to the president’s account in the altered image is also incorrect, leaving a space between “@Joe” and “Biden” where none exists in the president’s authentic personal handle, “@JoeBiden.”
However, the Biden administration has voiced its disapproval of the legislation in question. At the start of a press briefing given on March 22, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre made the following statement:
We have grave concerns with the passage of the Anti-Homosexuality Act — AHA — by the Parliament of Uganda yesterday and increasing violence targeting LGBTQI+ persons.
If the AHA is signed into law and enacted, it would impinge upon universal human rights, jeopardize progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS, deter tourism and invest [investment] in Uganda, and damage Uganda’s international reputation.
The bill is one of the most extreme anti-LGBTQI+ laws in the world.
Human rights are universal. No one should be attacked, imprisoned, or killed simply because of who they are or whom they love.
Later on during the same briefing, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters that the Biden administration “would have to take a look at whether or not there might be repercussions that we would have to take, perhaps in an economic way, should this law actually get passed—enacted.” Although the law has been passed by the Ugandan parliament, it is still subject to presidential approval.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken was also critical of the law in a tweet posted March 22:
Homosexual acts were already illegal in Uganda prior to the passage of the legislation in question, which introduces a panoply of prohibitions on wider personal and corporate behavior pertaining to homosexuality. Per reporting by the BBC, some of the measures proposed by the Ugandan legislature are as follows:
- A person who is convicted of grooming or trafficking children for purposes of engaging them in homosexual activities faces life in prison.
- Individuals or institutions which support or fund LGBT rights’ activities or organisations, or publish, broadcast and distribute pro-gay media material and literature, also face prosecution and imprisonment.
- Media groups, journalists and publishers face prosecution and imprisonment for publishing, broadcasting, distribution of any content that advocates for gay rights or “promotes homosexuality.”
- Death penalty for what is described as “aggravated homosexuality”, that is sexual abuse of a child, a person with disability or vulnerable people, or in cases where a victim of homosexual assault is infected with a life-long illness.
- Property owners also face risk of being jailed if their premises are used as a “brothel” for homosexual acts or any other sexual minorities rights’ activities.
If you have a claim you would like to see us fact check, please send us an email at email@example.com. If you would like to suggest a correction to this piece or any other Dispatch article, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.