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Post of conservative commentator criticizing Grammys performance is fake

An image shared thousands of times across platforms appears to show conservative US commentator Ben Shapiro criticizing singer-songwriter Tracy Chapman's performance at the 66th annual Grammy Awards of "Fast Car," her song recently re-popularized by Luke Combs. But the supposed screenshot is fake; the podcast host authored no such post.

"Of course the Grammy cultural Marxists had to force us to watch some black queer female perform and steal the spotlight from Luke Comb's popular new country music song. The woke war on straight while male success continues," says what appears to be a post from Shapiro on X, formerly Twitter, where he has 6.5 million followers.

<span>Screenshot from X taken February 8, 2024</span>
Screenshot from X taken February 8, 2024

The purported screenshot spread across X and other platforms -- including Facebook, Instagram and TikTok -- in the days after the February 4, 2024 Grammy Awards.

In a rare public appearance at the Los Angeles ceremony, Chapman performed a rendition of her 1988 classic "Fast Car" with Combs, a country star who enjoyed massive streaming success with a cover of the track released in 2023.

Many posts sharing the supposed Shapiro post about Chapman's surprise duet with Combs criticized the conservative commentator for failing to realize the tune was hers first.

"Yeah. How dare Tracy Chapman sing her own song," says one February 7 post on X.

But the apparent screenshot is fabricated -- Shapiro shared nothing of the sort, live and archived versions of his X feed show.

On the contrary, the founder of the Daily Wire, a right-wing website, on February 6 shared a link on his Facebook page to the website's article about the performance by Chapman, who has said little publicly about her personal life (archived here).

The headline reads: "WATCH: Tracy Chapman's Unforgettable Grammys Performance Singing 'Fast Car' With Luke Combs."

Shapiro now has a different profile picture on X than the one depicted in the fake post.

Shapiro acknowledges fake

On X, Shapiro shared a BBC News journalist's post saying the purported Shapiro critique was fake (archived here).

He also responded to a version of the fabricated image with a made-up Julius Caesar quote about not believing everything that spreads on social media (archived here).

AFP reached out to the Daily Wire for comment. No response was forthcoming, but a publicist told the US fact-checking outlet PolitiFact the image circulating online is not authentic.

AFP previously debunked altered footage from the 66th annual Grammy Awards here, as well as misinformation about Shapiro here.

AFP has also fact-checked other fabricated social media posts, including here, here and here.