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Meme Misidentifies Impeachment Witness

Quick Take

A photo of a woman in Australia reacting to the outcome of the 2016 U.S. presidential election has been misidentified as law professor Pamela Karlan, a Democratic witness during the House impeachment inquiry.

Full Story

Internet trolls have resurrected an old meme and falsely claim it shows Pamela Karlan, the Stanford Law School professor who testified as a constitutional law expert during a House impeachment hearing.

But the picture used in the meme doesn’t show Karlan. It shows Janna DeVylder, the owner of a design studio in Sydney, Australia.

DeVylder became the face of popular conservative memes in 2016 after a Reuters photographer took her picture during an election night event at the University of Sydney in Australia. She was decked out in a star-spangled top hat and a Hillary Clinton pin, grimacing at the election returns.

DeVylder, who grew up in Iowa and now lives in Sydney, voted by absentee ballot for Clinton in the last presidential election, she told the Des Moines Register in 2017 for a story about her meme fame.

Now that picture has been mislabeled to claim that it shows Karlan — who became a target of the right after her appearance as a Democratic witness during the impeachment hearing — in an effort to discredit her testimony. The text featured with one popular meme says: “For those who deny that Pamela Karlan’s testimony was politically motivated: Here she is – the night Trump won.”

Other false memes that claim to show the professor have been circulating on social media. We wrote about them here.

Editor’s note: FactCheck.org is one of several organizations working with Facebook to debunk misinformation shared on social media. Our previous stories can be found here.


Reed, Jason. “Supporters of U.S Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton react as a state is called in favour of her opponent, Republican candidate Donald Trump, during a watch party for the U.S. Presidential election, at the University of Sydney in Australia, November 9, 2016.” Reuters. 9 Nov 2016.

Munson, Kyle. “How a ‘crying liberal’ became global meme for those gloating over Trump win.” USA Today. 15 Jan 2017.