On March 17, 2021, a few days after conservative pundit Candace Owens criticized rapper Cardi B over her performance of "WAP" at the Grammy Awards, the rapper hit back on social media by sharing a screenshot of a tweet Owens supposedly posted in November 2020. The alleged tweet from Owens read: “Yes, my husband did cheat on me with my brother. Yes, he said no when I asked to join them.”
When Owens pushed back, saying that it was photoshopped, Cardi B posted screenshots from several contemporary blog articles that reported on the "tweeted and deleted" message:
While it's true that several websites published articles about this alleged tweet back in November 2020, we found no evidence this message was actually posted to Owens' account. It should also be noted that none of the articles provided a link to the alleged deleted tweet, and most used ambiguous language stating that it "seemed" like Owens posted the message.
When a message is posted to Twitter, it becomes associated with a unique URL. While people often delete their tweets, you can usually find traces of deleted messages via these now-broken URLs. In this case, however, we've yet to see any links back to Owens' alleged deleted tweet.
Furthermore, we searched the Wayback Machine and the internet archive for any record of this allegedly deleted message and came up empty. Without a URL to work with, we searched for archives of Owens' entire Twitter timeline. On Nov. 16, 2020, her timeline was archived six times throughout the day. The "my husband cheated on me message" does not appear on any of those archived pages.
The context in which this message originally went viral is also important. In mid-November 2020, Owens stirred up controversy when she criticized singer Harry Styles for wearing a dress on the cover of Vogue. As Owens and internet users sparred over the merits of masculinity, the fake Owens tweet about her brother started going viral. On the day before, fans of Styles themselves had been spreading the rumor that Owens' husband had cheated on her with her brother:
It seems unlikely that Owens would tweet this attack out herself. Rather, it's more plausible that an angry Styles fan turned a popular rumor into a photoshopped Owens tweet in order to denigrate the conservative pundit.
While some online outlets really did spread this tweet as if it were genuine, others were a little more discerning with their reporting. Distractify, for instance, wrote about the Owens and Styles controversy, and noted that it was a "photoshopped tweet":
After Candace's tweets about masculinity began trending on Twitter, a crude hashtag did as well. Some Twitter users suggested that Candace's husband had a sexual relationship with her brother. The rumor originated from a photoshopped tweet.
The doctored tweet attributed the following message to Candace's Twitter account:
"Yes, my husband did cheat on me with my brother," it read. "Yes, he said no when I asked to join them."
Many users online responded to the fake tweet with memes and other jokes.
Owens did not tweet that "my husband cheated on me with my brother" and that "he said no when I asked to join them." This was a photoshopped message that was created to insult the conservative pundit. It should also be noted that this fake message was not created by Cardi B and has been circulating since November 2020.