No, journalist Chris Hedges didn't recite a poem about Gaza at 2024 Oscars ceremony

By: Ishita Goel
March 28 2024

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No, journalist Chris Hedges didn't recite a poem about Gaza at 2024 Oscars ceremony

Screenshot of social media post claiming to show Chris Hedges reciting a poem at the 2024 Academy Awards.(Source: Facebook/X/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict False

A drag artist used audio from Hedges' speech and lip-synced his performance to the journalist's audio against a background of the Oscars ceremony.

Claim ID 2c536dd7

What is the claim?

A four-minute-long video purporting to be a clip from the 2024 Academy Awards, allegedly showing American journalist and author Chris Hedges reciting a poem about the suffering of the children of Gaza amid the Israel-Hamas conflict is viral on social media. The overlaid text on the video reads, "Chris Hedges poem at the Academy Awards 2024. 4 Minutes of gut-wrenching truth. Please watch and share." 

The video gives the impression that Hedges recited 'a poem' on Gaza, as visuals of the conflict-torn region played on the screen at the award ceremony, popularly called the Oscars. The viral video is interspersed with footage of actors present at the ceremony tearing up. Archived versions of the posts sharing the video can be found here, here, and here.

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

However, we found that not only did such a performance not take place at the Oscars, but the man in the video is also not Chris Hedges.

Did such an incident take place at 2024 Oscars?

Israel's ongoing attack on Gaza following the October 7 strikes by Hamas drew some attention at the 2024 award ceremony, with some celebrities like Billie Eilish, Ramy Youssef, Mark Ruffalo, and others wearing Palestinian flags as lapels and Artists4Ceasefire pins on their clothing. Meanwhile, Jonathan Glazer, the director of the Auschwitz-set film 'The Zone of Interest,' delivered a speech at the ceremony decrying the current conflict in the Middle East.

However, we found that while the background of the viral clip — which has host Jimmy Kimmel standing on the stage— and the audience reactions matched that of the awards ceremony, the speaker in the viral video and the audio did not feature at any time at the Oscars ceremony.

In our research, we came across no results or news reports about American journalist and author Chris Hedges reciting a poem about the children of Gaza at the 2024 Oscars. We also checked the recorded video of the Oscar ceremony uploaded to the OTT platform Disney Hotstar and found no such monologue or performance.

What's the source of the video?

Next, through a reverse image search, we found an extended version of the viral video on the YouTube channel of 'Indie Nile,' a Palestinian/Lebanese drag artist and filmmaker. The channel's bio adds, "Drag Therapy is what I do. I do it through lipsync short films & analysis videos here on Youtube and through theater pieces on the stage."

The video had been uploaded to YouTube on March 13 with a caption that read, "Dear Gaza, We Have Failed You." The description said, "This year's ceremony was missing an important apology. Enter Indie...." We were able to match the viral clip to the 6:16 mark of the YouTube video.

Clearly, therefore, the video does not capture a real incident from the 2024 Oscars. 'Indie Nile' criticizes the 2024 awards ceremony for not paying enough attention to the situation in Gaza, and attempts to correct the record with his own performance.

What is the connection to Chris Hedges?

At the 1:37 mark of the YouTube video, 'Indie Nile' says that Hedges is "a fantastic reporter who's been documenting the plight of Palestinians and I'm using his voice to intercept this year's Oscar ceremony, which was so dystopic (sic) ."

Later, at the 5:57 mark, he says that Hedges wrote a letter in December after a failed attempt to enter Gaza from the Rafah border, which is what he then quotes.

'Nile' essentially combined his lip sync performance and video of the Gaza conflict with existing audio of Hedges reading the letter. This was then superimposed against the Oscars background and interspersed with footage of the celebrities, as well as harrowing scenes of human suffering from Gaza, and made to look like such a video was played at the ceremony. Logically Facts has contacted the content creator for more details on his video, and this story will be updated if and when we receive a response. 

We also noted that the description of the YouTube video credited the audio to "Chris hedges (journalist) letter to a child in gaza." Taking a cue from this, we found that Hedges had spoken at The Sanctuary for Independent Media on December 6, 2023, addressing the Middle East crisis, during a talk titled "The Genocide in Gaza." Around the 44:05 mark, we can match his words to those heard in the viral video. Before reading the letter, at the 41:50 mark, Hedges explains that he had written this letter to the children in Gaza during a recent flight from Egypt. 

We also located the letter in question on the website run by the renowned journalist, 'Chris Hedges Report.'

The verdict

The audio of Chris Hedge reading out a letter he wrote for children in Gaza with a lip sync performance on the same audio by drag artist and filmmaker 'Indie Nile.' This video was made to appear like one from the Oscars 2024 ceremony as an 'interception' of the awards show. However, this has been shared as a real incident to falsely claim Hedges spoke for Gaza at the 2024 Oscar ceremony. As no such performance took place, we have marked this claim as false.

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