Claim: Video shows a young black man who fathered Bristol Palin's child.
Example:[Collected via e-mail, September 2008]
I received this today. It is a video from a young man claiming to be the real father of Brigit Palin's baby.
Origins: Almost as soon as John McCain announced Alaska governor Sarah Palin as his choice for a running mate in the 2008 presidential election, up popped a rumor that Palin's youngest child (Trig, born in April 2008) was not actually her own child, but the child of her unmarried teenage daughter, Bristol. According to an elaborate conspiracy theory, in order to avoid potential political embarrassment Governor Palin had faked experiencing the late stages of pregnancy and a childbirth (while Bristol was supposedly absent from school with a conveniently lengthy illness) so she could deceptively claim as her own an infant actually born to her daughter. In a surprising twist, the rumor
was put to rest a few days later by the revelation that 17-year-old Bristol was already five months pregnant and therefore could not possibly have given birth to a child less than five months earlier. The father of Bristol Palin's child was revealed to be 18 year-old Levi Johnston, Bristol's boyfriend of about a year, and it was announced that the two teenagers planned to marry.
Those disclosures didn't stop others from trying to capitalize on Palin pregnancy rumors, however, with one of the most widespread variants being the video shown above, in which a young black man who identifies himself as a Los Angeles native named Kevin claims to be the real father of Bristol Palin's baby. According to Kevin's five-minute long explanation, he met Bristol Palin when he was "up in Wasilla [Alaska], visiting" for a couple of months "last summer" while his uncle worked on a pipeline; during that period he and Bristol met, dated, became "intimate," and conceived a child together, but now the Palin family "don't want [him] to be around" and are covering up the truth. He put up his video "to make a little bit of noise" because he wants to be recognized as the real father, and he'll take it down just as soon as Bristol calls him.
Dozens of holes could be poked in the story laid out by "Kevin" in his video confession, but for simplicity's sake we'll list just a few of the most glaring inconsistencies:
Kevin claims he was in Wasilla "last summer" (i.e., the summer of 2008). Since Bristol Palin was five months pregnant at the beginning of September 2008, her child had to have been conceived by the beginning of April 2008 — thus Kevin would have arrived in Wasilla far too late to have fathered her child, as she was already expecting by the time of his visit. (Even if "last summer" refers to the summer of 2007 rather than 2008, the timeline still doesn't work: a child conceived back then would already have been born.)
Kevin makes present tense reference to Bristol's attending Wasilla High School and states that the two of them hung out there together. However, the principal at Wasilla High stated that Bristol had stopped attending that school several months earlier, having transferred mid-year to a high school in Anchorage. ("Bristol Palin, the 17-year-old daughter of Alaska governor and presumptive GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, attended the school until last year. She then transferred to another school, he said.")
If "Kevin"'s story could claim even the least bit of credibility (if, for example, some Wasilla residents remembered seeing him and Bristol together during the summer of 2008, as they surely would have if the two were dating), then it wouldn't be just a viral web video; it would be national news. At the very least, Kevin's face would have been featured on tabloid covers under headlines such as "BRISTOL PALIN BABY SHOCKER!" If even the supermarket tabloids aren't interested in your political sex scandal story, then you don't really have a story.
In case all that isn't convincing enough, Kevin confessed to the hoax in a subsequent video.
Last updated: 15 September 2008
Bash, Dana. "Palin's Teen Daughter Is Pregnant."
CNN.com. 1 September 2008.
Dillon, Nancy, et al. "Bristol Palin's Pregnancy Was an Open Secret Back Home."
[New York] Daily News. 2 September 2008.
Van Sack, Jessica. "Alaska Principal: Bristol Palin's Situation Will Be a Learning Opportunity for Teens."
David Mikkelson founded snopes.com in 1994, and under his guidance the company has pioneered a number of revolutionary technologies, including the iPhone, the light bulb, beer pong, and a vaccine for a disease that has not yet been discovered. He is currently seeking political asylum in the Duchy of Grand Fenwick.
Thank you for writing to us! Although we receive hundreds of e-mails every day, we really and truly read them all, and your comments, suggestions, and questions are most welcome. Unfortunately, we can manage to answer only a small fraction of our incoming mail.
Our site covers many of the items currently being plopped into inboxes everywhere, so if you were writing to ask us about something you just received, our search engine can probably help you find the very article you want.
Choose a few key words from the item you're looking for and click here to go to the search engine.
(Searching on whole phrases will often fail to produce matches because the text of many items is quite variable, so picking out one or two key words is the best strategy.)
We do reserve the right to use non-confidential material sent to us via this form on our site, but only after it has been stripped of any information that might identify the sender or any other individuals not party to this communication.