Fabricated story shared to falsely claim Moderna CEO was executed at Guantanamo Bay

By: Praveen Kumar
December 13 2023

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Fabricated story shared to falsely claim Moderna CEO was executed at Guantanamo Bay

Screenshot of a headline falsely claiming that Modera CEO Stéphane Bancel was executed at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. (Source: TikTok/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict False

Stéphane Bancel is alive. The baseless story about his alleged hanging was published by Real Raw News, a website known for spreading fake news.

Claim ID b14bafd3

What is the claim?

A screenshot of a purported news article headlined “Moderna CEO hanged at GITMO” is circulating widely online. This report, authored by one ‘Michael Baxter,’ claims that Stéphane Bancel, the CEO of pharmaceutical giant Moderna, has been executed at the U.S. military prison Guantanamo Bay, a.k.a. Gitmo.

This screenshot has been shared recently on TikTok (archived here and here), and Facebook (archived here and here).

This claim has been viewed on TikTok tens of thousands of times. (Source: TikTok/Screenshots/Modified by Logically Facts)

This claim has also recently been shared on Facebook. (Source: Facebook/Screenshots)

However, the claims made in the fabricated story are baseless. Moderna CEO Bancel is very much alive.

What did we find?

On searching for the headline “Moderna CEO hanged at GITMO” online, we found that the fake news website Real Raw News had published the article on November 18, 2022. The article referred to Bancel as an eugenicist and a pharmaceutical mogul. It claimed that Bancel was executed by the “U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps.” It does not specify why Bancel was allegedly arrested or executed, except for claiming Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine was a “death shot.” 

No credible news organization has published any report about Bancel getting reportedly imprisoned or executed at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. 

Further, Bancel is listed as the Chief Executive Officer on the ‘Leadership’ page of Moderna’s official website. On December 12, Moderna also released a press release about bringing changes to its operating model and mentioned that Bancel would “assume responsibility for sales and marketing in 2024, working directly with the commercial team.”

Bancel had also appeared on a CNBC video interview on November 2. In the interview, which is available on the outlet’s YouTube channel, Bancel discusses the Moderna's quarterly earnings results, among other things. 

CNBC host Joe Kernen interviewed Stéphane Bancel in November. (Source: YouTube)

Bloomberg Television also uploaded a video on YouTube on November 2 showing Bancel talking to the news organization about the weak sales forecast for Moderna in 2024. 

Further, Aspire Institute’s YouTube video uploaded on October 23, shows Bancel speaking in a video conference. According to the video description, he “shared wisdom for the next generation of young leaders.”

Bancel spoke to Aspire Institue on October 23. (Source: YouTube)

All of this establishes that the Moderna CEO is very much alive and the report about his alleged execution was fabricated by Real Raw News— a website that regularly publishes fake stories about real people and organizations. The rest of the report also peddles vaccine skepticism and doubts about Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, a claim that fact-checking organizations have repeatedly debunked. The story offers no evidence or proof for the claim that Bancel was executed whatsoever.

Real Raw News’s track record

The ‘About Us’ page of Real Raw News claims that the content on its website is for “informational and educational and entertainment purposes.” The disclaimer adds that the website contains humor, parody, and satire. Logically Facts has previously written about Real Raw News and its history of publishing fake stories and rarely has any credible sources to back the claims made in its articles.

Non-profit media institute Poynter stated in September 2021 that Real Raw News and several other conspiracy-oriented pages were set up by a person who goes by the pseudonym ‘Michael Baxter.’ 

The verdict

A fake and baseless story about the Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel, published in November 2022, has been recirculated, claiming he was executed at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. Bancel is still alive and has not been imprisoned. Therefore, we mark the claim false.

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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