The claim: Hillary Clinton wore a dress to the Met Gala with references to baseless conspiracy theory
For the first time in 21 years, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton attended the Met Gala in early May.
Soon after, a picture began circulating online showing Clinton with a dress covered in names.
Since her appearance at the annual event, the dress she wore has garnered attention on social media, including one photo of Clinton in her gown posted to Facebook that was shared more than 2,000 times in four days.
The photo shows Clinton walking the red carpet in her off-the-shoulder wine-colored dress with the names of conspiracy theories and individuals – like Jeffery Epstein, JFK Jr. and Paula Jones – written on top of her dress.
Clinton’s actual dress did have names subtly stitched on it, of dozens of famous women. But this picture was digitally manipulated to reference an array of conspiracy theories around Clinton, including baseless claims connecting the deaths of various people close to her and former President Bill Clinton.
Commenters generally recognized the image as modified but seized on the photo to resurface an array of claims about those conspiracy theories.
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USA TODAY reached out to the user who shared the claim for comment.
The modified image is tied to conspiracy theories
Photos from the Met Gala show that Clinton’s dress did not feature these names.
The dress Clinton wore did have 60 names embroidered onto it of famous women who inspire her, including Lady Bird Johnson, Clara Barton and Harriet Tubman.
The names featured on the dress in the modified image are ones Clinton is often tied to on social media as part of the baseless Clinton body count conspiracy theory: the idea that the Clintons secretly killed their political enemies.
The theory has a long history, dating back to 1993, when Linda Thompson, an Indianapolis lawyer and militia movement activist, created a list of 34 people connected to the Clintons who had died.
For example, Vince Foster, a former Clinton associate who died by suicide, was included in both Thompson’s list from 1993 and the altered image of the dress that circulated on Facebook.
In 2016, Vox detailed why the Foster conspiracy theory had no basis in fact: Foster was found in a park with a bullet in his head and a gun in his hand, and both the U.S. Park Police and the FBI said he died by suicide.
Jefferey Epstein’s name is also featured on the dress multiple times, a nod to the connections between Bill Clinton and Epstein. After Epstein’s death in 2019, conspiracy theories spread online connecting his death to Hillary Clinton. Days after his death, the New York City Office of the Chief Medical Examiner said his cause of death was suicide by hanging.
Our rating: Satire
Based on our research, we rate SATIRE the claim that Hillary Clinton wore a dress to the Met Gala with names of people and conspiracy theories. The photo was digitally manipulated to include names of individuals from the baseless Clinton body count conspiracy theory and other conspiracy theories surrounding Clinton. Fact checkers and news organizations have repeatedly debunked the claims that the Clintons are to blame for an array of deaths.
Our fact-check sources:
- Vogue, May 2, Hillary Clinton Returns to the Met Gala After 21 Years
- People, May 3, Read the Names of Women in History Hillary Clinton Admires, Stitched into Her Met Gala Gown
- InStyle, May 2, Hillary Clinton’s 2022 Met Gala Dress Had a Powerful Meaning
- Vox, Nov. 14, 2019, The conspiracy theories about the Clintons and Jeffrey Epstein’s death, explained
- Snopes, Jan. 24, 1998, Clinton Body Bags
- Vox, May 25, 2016, Vince Foster’s death and subsequent conspiracy theories, explained
- NBC News, July 25, 2019, An old Hillary Clinton conspiracy theory finds new life in Jeffrey Epstein news
- PolitiFact, Aug. 27, 2019, No evidence to support this Clinton body count hoax
- CNN, Aug. 16, 2019, Jeffrey Epstein’s cause of death was suicide by hanging, medical examiner says
If you or someone you know may be struggling with suicidal thoughts, you can call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) any time day or night, or chat online.
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