Fact Check

Was Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Once Fired from Hot Dog on a Stick?

Many opponents of congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have decided to focus on fictitious criticisms.

Published Feb. 14, 2019

Image Via Shutterstock
A photograph shows Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez working at the Hot Dog on a Stick restaurant shortly before she was fired for incompetence.

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been the subject of a number of false rumors and misleading memes ever since she won a seat as the youngest woman ever elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2018. One of many disparaging attacks on the freshman lawmaker came in the form of a photograph that supposedly showed her working at a "Hot Dog on a Stick" stand (a staple of shopping mall food services) and a piece of text claiming that she had been fired from that job for incompetence:

The text of the meme stated that "Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was fired from a Hot Dog on a Stick job in 2008 for incompetence. And the Democrats elected her to Congress."

This meme did not relay a credible story about Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez. In fact, it didn't even feature a photograph of her.

This picture used in the meme was taken by Flickr user Michael Zampeli and showed a young woman named Stephanie preparing a batch of lemonade at a Hot Dog on a Stick outlet. While the image used in the meme has been degraded to the point where the name tag on the food worker's hat is illegible, the original photograph on Flickr clearly showed that the tag bore the name "Stephanie":

It should also be noted that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was elected to Congress at the age of 29. If this meme were true (which it is not), the alleged firing would have occurred when she was just 18 years-old.

This baseless meme is just the latest attack on the congresswoman. We've previously debunked rumors holding that Ocasio-Cortez had a credit score of 430 and a history of evictions, and that her Green New Deal legislation included a provision requiring that men recycle their urine.


Hess, Abigail.   "29-Year-Old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Is Poised to Become the Youngest Woman in Congress."     NBC News.   6 November 2018.

Zampelli, Michael.   "Hot Dog on a Stick."     Flickr.   16 February 2008.

Dan Evon is a former writer for Snopes.