A tweet posted years ago by the late comedian Norm Macdonald has been altered to falsely claim that he’d commented on the possibility of a transgender school shooter back in 2016. A search of Macdonald’s account shows he didn’t write that transphobic tweet.
Among the flotsam circulating on social media after the deadly shooting at a Christian elementary school in Nashville is a manipulated tweet attributed to the late comedian Norm Macdonald.
Macdonald, who died of cancer in 2021, portrayed the “Weekend Update” anchor on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” from 1994 to 1998, offering comments on news of the day.
But he did not forecast a school shooting carried out by a transgender person in 2023.
Purveyors of disinformation, though, including conspiracy theorist Stew Peters, have been sharing a bogus tweet made to look like it came from Macdonald’s Twitter account in December 2016.
The phony tweet says: “What terrifies me is if a tranny were to shoot up a school full of children and kill a bunch of innocent kids. Imagine the pain when they’re misgendered by the media?”
Peters, for example, shared that fake tweet in a post on Truth Social with a message that said, “Norm was ahead of his time.”
Others shared the fabricated tweet on Instagram.
But Macdonald’s Twitter account shows that on Dec. 16, 2016 at 12:53 a.m. — the same timestamp in the memefied fake tweet — he wrote: “What terrifies me is if ISIS were to detonate a nuclear device and kill 50 million Americans. Imagine the backlash against peaceful Muslims?”
Also, a search of the account shows that no other tweet exists using the language now being shared.
Even though the account no longer has a blue verification badge, we know that it was Macdonald’s Twitter account because it had been verified while he was alive, as is shown in the Internet Archives’ Wayback Machine. Also, the account — which has more than a million followers — had been tagged over the years by other major accounts, including the publisher of Macdonald’s book.
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. Facebook has no control over our editorial content.
Wegner, Rachel. “‘I want to go home’: Nashville shooting 911 calls capture terror inside Covenant School.” The Tennessean. 30 Mar 2023.
Genzlinger, Neil. “Norm Macdonald, ‘Saturday Night Live’ Comedian, Dies at 61.” New York Times. Updated 3 Oct 2021.
Macdonald, Norm (@normmacdonald). “What terrifies me is if ISIS were to detonate a nuclear device and kill 50 million Americans. Imagine the backlash against peaceful Muslims?” Twitter. 16 Dec 2016.
Macdonald, Norm (@normmacdonald). Twitter account. Accessed 30 Mar 2023.