Conspiracy says John Fetterman was replaced by a body double

Conspiracy theorists claim Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.) was replaced with a “body double” after photos of the politician were shared on social media on Monday.

Fetterman, who is currently being treated for clinical depression at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, was pictured alongside his chief of staff Adam Jentleson as the two met to discuss proposed legislation.

“Productive morning with Senator Fetterman at Walter Reed’s where he discussed railroad safety legislation, Farm Bill and other Senate matters,” Jentleson tweeted. “John is on the fast track to recovery and wanted me to tell him how grateful he is for all the well wishes. He is focused on PA and will be back soon.”

Fetterman was initially hospitalized on February 15 after his depression, which his office said he had experienced “at times throughout his life,” became “more severe” than normal.

The senator also had hearing problems after suffering a stroke in May that forced Fetterman to use closed captioning to communicate due to the hearing problems it caused.

Fetterman’s supporters responded to the tweet by celebrating the politician’s recovery.

“It’s so encouraging to see him recovering and looking great!” wrote one user.

But opponents of the senator argued not only that he was unfit for work, but that Fetterman’s recovery was nothing more than a photo op.

“He is not reading or discussing anything in these images,” wrote one user, who described himself as an “America First Republican.” “They came and gave him papers as a prop for a proof of life photo and then sent him back to bed.”

Given that there was a lot of talk in the run-up to Midterms 2022 about Fetterman’s need to use closed captions in a nationally televised interview, people couldn’t believe he could casually converse unaided.

But a growing number of far-right users have instead argued that Fetterman isn’t even alive and was replaced by a body double, a popular conspiracy theory among QAnon supporters.

“That’s not Fetterman, that’s clearly a body double,” said another user. “The man in this photo seems to KNOW HOW TO READ!!!!”

Others argued that the release of photos, as opposed to videos, was even more proof that Fetterman was either extremely ill or dead.

“Millions of videos are posted online every day, but it seems video technology isn’t available to Democrat politicians yet,” one user wrote.

Some even urged Fetterman to provide further evidence that he was indeed alive by holding up the daily newspaper.

“I want to see him hold up the cover of today’s Washington Post,” tweeted another popular user.

Fetterman is just the latest high-profile personality to suffer from a medical condition and be targeted by right-wing conspiracy theorists.

Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin was also accused of being replaced by a body double after he suffered a cardiac arrest during a game in January, during which he was shot in the chest. Right-wing netizens claimed the problem was caused by the COVID-19 vaccine before demanding “proof of life” videos. When Hamlin reappeared, conspiracy theorists kept moving the goalposts.

Everyone from President Joe Biden to former First Lady Melania Trump are secretly dead and have been replaced by others, according to conspiracy theorists.


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*Initial publication: March 7, 2023 8:17 am CST

Michael Thalen

Mikael Thalen is a Seattle-based tech and security reporter covering social media, data breaches, hackers and more.

Michael Thalen Conspiracy says John Fetterman was replaced by a body double

Jaclyn Diaz

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