No, The Guardian did not publish an op-ed calling maypole dancing 'racist'

By: Ishita Goel
April 12 2024

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No, The Guardian did not publish an op-ed calling maypole dancing 'racist'

Screenshot of a social media post claiming to show an op-ed by Yasmin Alibhai-Brown. (Source: Facebook/X/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict Fake

A doctored image is being circulated, falsely claiming to depict an article authored by British journalist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown for The Guardian.

Claim ID bc96a2d7

What's the claim?

A viral image resembling a screenshot of an opinion piece published in The Guardian is being shared as British journalist and author Yasmin Alibhai-Brown's article on the maypole dance. The purported article is dated March 29, 2024, with the headline reading, "Maypole dancing is an example of countryside racism and a ritual of white supremacy."

The maypole dance is a traditional folk dance mainly performed on May 1 in European countries. Historically, it symbolized spring rites and ensured fertility by being performed around trees.

Numerous social media users have shared this image, trolling and severely criticizing the author. Some have even called for her departure from the United Kingdom, alleging that she “does nothing but come out with divisive comments that drive wedges between communities." Another iteration of the post labeled her a “vile racist." Archives of the posts can be found here, here, and here.

Screenshots of the viral posts on social media. (Source: X/Facebook/Modified by Logically Facts)

However, The Guardian has never published such an article, and the image in question is fake.

What are the facts?

Upon closer examination, it's apparent that while the image imitates The Guardian's layout and format, the visible masthead reads ‘The Grauniad.’

‘The Grauniad’ is a deliberate misspelling of The Guardian, often used in viral posts featuring fake articles. This nickname, originating from historical typographical errors in the newspaper, now frequently appears in spoof articles.

Furthermore, searches on The Guardian’s website and social media accounts for such an article yielded no results. The Guardian also confirmed to Logically Facts that "the screenshot shared is not and has never been an article or headline published by the Guardian."

Similarly, our research found no results for the purported piece on Alibhai-Brown's social media handles.

Additionally, Alibhai-Brown's last piece for The Guardian was in 2016. The website indicates that her final contribution was on November 8, 2016, with the headline ‘PC? Just call it political politeness. Even rightwing bullies could buy into that.’

Logically Facts has contacted Alibhai-Brown for comment. We will update this story if and when we receive a response.

The Guardian and fabricated screenshots

This isn't the first time The Guardian has been the subject of such fabricated screenshots masquerading as pieces published by the paper. Logically Facts has debunked several fake screenshots that mimicked op-ed pieces in The Guardian.

According to reports, The Guardian has taken action to shut down a parody headline generator likely responsible for producing such headlines. However, several copycat sites have since emerged. One example is The Grauniad Official Parody account on X, which frequently generates spoof headlines. However, we could not find the viral post on this particular account.

The verdict

The screenshot, mimicking The Guardian and being shared as a genuine article published by the newspaper, is fake.

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Global Fact-Checks Completed

We rely on information to make meaningful decisions that affect our lives, but the nature of the internet means that misinformation reaches more people faster than ever before