Q: Did Sen. Chuck Schumer have an affair with a 16-year-old girl?
A: No. That claim was originally made up by a self-described satirical website, but has been circulating on right-wing social media accounts as though it happened.
What started out as a joke has turned into ammunition for right-wing social media accounts to defend Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who is accused of committing sexual assault in the 1980s.
The transformation from parody to recrimination took place over the course of almost a year.
Here’s how it happened: In December 2017, America’s Last Line of Defense, a site that describes its content as satire aimed at provoking conservatives, posted a made-up story claiming that Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer had impregnated a 16-year-old girl. The hoax story was related to allegations at the time that Roy Moore, the Republican who lost a special Senate election in Alabama, had pursued sexual relationships with underage girls when he was in his 30s.
A conspiracy-theorist blogger and YouTube personality then took the story and embellished it in a post headlined: “BREAKING: Chuck Schumer, Democrat Senate Minority Leader, Accused of Raping His Daughter’s 16 Year Old Friend: Friend Then ‘Committed Suicide’”
That post became the basis of a recent attack on Schumer by Lori Hendry, a popular Twitter personality who describes herself as an “unapologetic conservative.” Hendry, who has about 246,000 followers, shared the false story about Schumer in a tweet defending Kavanaugh.
Dear Chuck Schumer you were accused of raping your daughter’s 16-year-old friend who then committed suicide. u categorically denied guilt. Judge Kavanaugh is accused of a much lesser accusation and emphatically denying it too so why do you gounscathed and he is being crucified?
— Lori Hendry (@Lrihendry) September 18, 2018
But there are red flags that the story is not true.
For example, it claims that Schumer’s daughter, “Lisa Schumer,” exposed her father’s past relationship with her childhood friend. But Schumer’s two daughters are named Jessica and Alison.
Editor’s note: FactCheck.org is one of several organizations working with Facebook to debunk misinformation shared on the social media network.
Kavanaugh, Brett. Letter to Sen. Charles Grassley and Sen. Dianne Feinstein. Senate Committee on the Judiciary. 24 Sep 2018.
“BREAKING: Chuck Schumer’s Daughter Breaks Her Silence About Her Dad’s Affair With A High School Cheerleader.” Thelastlineofdefense.online. 8 Dec 2017.
Hale Spencer, Saranac. “False Stories About Roy Moore Accusers.” FactCheck.org. 11 Dec 2017.
Hendry, Lori. “Dear Chuck Schumer you were accused of raping your daughter’s 16-year-old friend who then committed suicide. u categorically denied guilt. Judge Kavanaugh is accused of a much lesser accusation and emphatically denying it too so why do you gounscathed and he is being crucified?” Twitter. 17 Sep 2018.
Biography for Sen. Charles E. Schumer. U.S. Senate. Accessed 25 Sep 2018.