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Hoax Alert

Fake News: Keanu Reeves (or Russell Crowe) Did NOT Say "For Me Trump Is The Symbol Of A Successful Man And A Role Model For Every Young American"

  • by: Maarten Schenk
  • (Wed, 14 Aug 2019 14:44:44 Z)

Did actors Russell Crowe or Keanu Reeves say "For me, Trump is the symbol of a successful man and a role model for every young American, something that our nation was looking for for years. I don't think that America will again have a leader like him."? No, that's not true: the fake quote originated on a network of dodgy websites and was initially attributed to Russell Crowe but later was said to have been uttered by Keanu Reeves. According to BuzzSumo the quote was repeated on several dozen websites over the years.

The quote popped up again in an article published by The Daily Trump News on August 13, 2019 titled "Keanu Reeves: "For Me Trump Is The Symbol Of A Successful Man And A Role Model For Every Young American" (archived here) which opened:

On-screen character Keanu Reeves: "For Me Trump Is The Image Of A Fruitful Man And A Good case For Each Youthful American, Something That Our Country Was Searching For Years.I Don't Imagine That America Will Again Have A Pioneer Like Him,"Do You Bolster Him?

Keanu Reeves was taping Velocity, in 1993, he went through each extra moment learning lines in his trailer. These lines weren't from the film he was wearing out - as Jack Traven, the SWAT officer who assumes responsibility for a bomb-stacked transport, Reeves didn't have a grand game-plan to state - at any rate from William Shakespeare's Villa, an all around thumbed duplicate of which he would bear on set.

His standard normal business was zooming through Los Angeles with a disturbed Sandra Bullock and a coachload of shouting additional things. Monologuing as the alarming Ruler of Denmark, then again, was near and dear time.

Screenshot of http://www.thedailytrumpnews.us/2019/08/keanu-reeves-for-me-trump-is-symbol-of.html

Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail:

Keanu Reeves: "For Me Trump Is The Symbol Of A Successful Man And A Role Model For Every Young American

On-screen character Keanu Reeves: "For Me Trump Is The Image Of A Fruitful Man And A Good case For Each Youthful A...

If you think the text of the story sounds weird, you are right: it was the result of a technique called "article spinning" where words are automatically replaced with synonyms in order to make it harder to detect plagiarism. That's why the quote in the body text is different from the quote in the headline. Here are some of the substitutions that happened:

  • symbol: image
  • successful: fruitful
  • role model: good case
  • young: youthful
  • leader: pioneer
  • support: bolster

Amusingly enough this process also seems to have mangled the name of the 1993 Keanu Reeves movie "Speed" by turning it into the nonsensical "Velocity".

An older version of the story was published in March 2018 that looked like this:

At the point when Keanu Reeves was shooting Speed, in 1993, he spent each extra moment learning lines in his trailer. These lines weren't from the film he was taking a shot at - as Jack Traven, the SWAT officer who takes control of a bomb-loaded transport, Reeves didn't have an awesome arrangement to state - however from William Shakespeare's Hamlet, a very much thumbed duplicate of which he would bear on set.

His normal everyday employment was zooming through Los Angeles with a bothered Sandra Bullock and a coachload of shouting additional items. Monologuing as the said Prince of Denmark, then again, was personal time.

A bit more readable, but still mangled.

The original seems to have come from this 2015 interview:

Keanu Reeves: 'I felt like I was fighting for my life'

When Keanu Reeves was filming Speed, in 1993, he spent every spare minute learning lines in his trailer. These lines weren't from the film he was working on - as Jack Traven, the SWAT officer who takes control of a bomb-laden bus, Reeves didn't have a great deal to say - but from William Shakespeare's Hamlet, a well-thumbed copy of which he would carry around on set.

The bit about zooming around also makes more sense in the original version:

His day job was zooming through Los Angeles with a flustered Sandra Bullock and a coachload of screaming extras. Monologuing as the tragic Prince of Denmark, on the other hand, was me-time.

Needless to say, the quote about President Trump does not occur in the interview and when Politifact contacted his agent he denied Reeves ever said it.

The Russell Crowe version of the story was also published in February or March 2018:

Actor Russel Crowe: "For Me Trump Is The Symbol Of A Successful Man And A Role Model For Every Young American, Something That Our Nation Was Looking For Years.I Don't Think That America Will Again Have A Leader Like Him," -

Actor Russel Crowe: "For Me Trump Is The Symbol Of A Successful Man And A Role Model For Every Young American, Something That Our Nation Was Looking For Years.I Don't Think That America Will Again Have A Leader Like Him,"Do You Support Him?

That version only had an embedded video from a Huffington Post interview and no other text. And no, the quote doesn't appear in the video either:

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About the author:

Maarten Schenk is our resident expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.  He can often be found at conferences and events about fake news, disinformation and fact checking when he is not in his office in Belgium monitoring and tracking the latest fake article to go viral.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk

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