July 2, 2021

A Facebook post showing a photo of former heavyweight boxing champ Mike Tyson apparently sending an anti-jab message is actually a feint.

In the photo, Tyson’s T-shirt has an image of a syringe crossed out. The text around it says, “Trust In God, Not In Vaccines.”

This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

The image in the post is a doctored version of a photo Tyson posted on Instagram on Nov. 23, 2020. Tyson’s shirt in that photo, bearing a black-and-white image of him in a boxing ring, was a promotion for his apparel line, Mike Tyson Collection.

The doctored image, left, and the real one, right.

A similarly altered Tyson photo was used once before in connection with COVID-19 misinformation. On April 29, 2021, Full Fact debunked a claim that Tyson was wearing a shirt with a logo for “Plan-Demic,” a documentary that touted conspiracy theories about COVID-19’s origins. The photo was a doctored screenshot from Tyson’s promotional video for the drink brand Smart Cups.

We scoured news reports for any statements by Tyson about his views of the COVID-19 vaccines and didn’t find any.

No split decision here. We rate this claim False.

This article was originally published by PolitiFact, which is part of the Poynter Institute. It is republished here with permission. See the sources for these fact checks here and more of their fact checks here.

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Gabrielle Settles is a reporter covering misinformation for PolitiFact. Previously, she was a staff writer for The Weekly Challenger and staff member and reporter for…
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