Facts Matter: Stunt dummy was for TV show, not fake war scene

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin crosses himself during the Orthodox Easter service Sunday, April 24, 2022, in the Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin crosses himself during the Orthodox Easter service Sunday, April 24, 2022, in the Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow. Associated Press, Pool

Updated 4/23/2022 5:53 PM

Russian State TV recently aired a video showing two men applying tape to a prop dummy, claiming the dummy will be used to create a staged war scene.

"This is how the Armed Forces of Ukraine prepare their staged videos in order to shout at the top of their lungs: 'Putin is to blame,' and then, as in Bucha, these toys will be scattered along the streets of Kyiv or Nikolaev," read a translated post by TV channel Russia-24.


But the dummy wasn't being prepared for a faked war scene, according to LeadStories. A film crew was taping up the stunt dummy, nicknamed "Albertik," before it was to fall off a building during filming of a TV show in the Russian town of Vsevolozhsk.

In a Facebook post, Nadezhda Kolobaeva, second director of the TV show, debunked the Russian claim.

"(Russia-24) said on the air that 'two Ukrainians in military uniforms wrap the mannequin with tape to later turn it into a corpse," she wrote (translated to English). "And here we were filming a falling from the window in Vsevolozhsk for our TV series on March 20, and here is our stunt performer with an assistant preparing Albertik for shooting!"

Kolobaeva posted several images from the scene of the filming showing a lift truck and a crew preparing the stunt dummy for a nearly six-story drop.

The post from Russia-24, which was eventually taken down, has been debunked in articles written in many languages, LeadStories said.

Moon crash not a government plan

A piece of space junk, believed to be a booster from a Chinese lunar exploration rocket launched in 2014, was expected to crash on the moon in March, The Washington Post reported.

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A Facebook post earlier this month claimed the crash was intentional and included videos purportedly showing the event happening.

"Everyone been so focused on Will & Jada, Ukraine & Russia. That we missed the event of what happened to the moon on March 4th, 2022," the post read. "Don't believe Google it. The question is what the hell is the government up to? I'm pretty sure this wasn't NO ACCIDENT. They distracting and hiding something."

A piece of a Chinese rocket did land on the moon March 4, according to PolitiFact. But the impact was not visible from Earth and there is no evidence it was orchestrated by the government.

The videos included with the post actually were created in 2020 and 2021 by Greg Pietrantonio, who makes sci-fi videos as a hobby.

Pietrantonio told PolitiFact the clips showing something striking the moon, though labeled Texas and California, were filmed in Pennsylvania and Florida. The videos, posted on TikTok, have been viewed millions of times.

The crash, which is thought to be the first unintentional moon impact, occurred on the far side of the moon, out of the range of ground telescopes, PolitiFact said.


Disney 'panic' was started as satire

Recent posts claim Walt Disney Co. shareholders were reacting after the entertainment giant's stock dropped and its market valuation decreased by about $2 billion.

"Disney Shareholders In a Panic After $2.4 Billion in Losses in One Day," one post read. "(Traders were) in tears after watching their clients lose billions after Disney's announcement to go woke."

But the post, which was shared thousands of times in various forms across several social media platforms, is false, according to The Associated Press. The origin of the claim actually comes from the satirical website Patriot Party Press.

Although Disney's valuation did drop by some $2 billion in recent days, a change of "a billion dollars here or there" is normal for a company that size, Georgetown University finance professor James Angel told the AP. Disney's market capitalization is nearly $238 billion.

"This is within the normal fluctuations that you see on a daily basis," he said.

Pope not wearing satanic symbol

Recent social media posts claim the pectoral cross worn by Pope Francis is a satanic symbol.

A post headlined "Synagogue of Satan" includes a photo of the Pope with an arrow pointing to the cross he's wearing, and the words, "Not Jesus."

This post is false, according to Reuters. The photo is authentic, but the arrow that was added is pointing to an image of Jesus.

Pope Francis' cross, unlike those of previous popes that were adorned with gold and jewels, is a simple silver cross.

The pontiff's pectoral cross, created by ecclesiastical metalware company F.C. Ziegler, was inspired by the Gospel of Luke, according to the group's website.

The cross, which is four inches tall, shows Jesus as the Good Shepherd, carrying a lost sheep on his shoulders as other sheep in the flock follow him. At the top of the cross is a dove, representing the Holy Spirit.

Pope Francis has worn that same cross since he was a cardinal in Argentina.

• Bob Oswald is a veteran Chicago-area journalist and former news editor of the Elgin Courier-News. Contact him at boboswald33@gmail.com.

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