In early June 2022, “Riverdale” star Cole Sprouse garnered more than 5 million “likes” on Instagram by posting an image supposedly showing him posing for a selfie with his naked butt visible in a mirror behind him. “Good morning to my publicity team,” the photograph’s caption read.
The June 7 post drew attention not just because of the purported nudity but also because Sprouse, who aside from acting does photography, digitally altered the photograph to make his butt bigger than it actually was:
Snopes was able to conclude the image was digitally altered by looking carefully at Sprouse’s arm and hand opposite the one holding the camera. That arm was elongated and unnaturally curved, and its hand and wrist were extremely long and unnaturally slender. Considering that evidence, we rated this claim “False” — the image was not a genuine depiction of the actor’s bare behind.
Furthermore, Sprouse’s backside in a May 2022 photograph taken by a credible source (Getty Images) at the Met Gala didn’t look like the one in the Instagram photo.
Some entertainment news outlets published stories about the Instagram post without explicitly noting that the image was altered.
People Magazine, for example, didn’t tell readers that the picture was distorted but did observe that Sprouse “has long showed off his sense of humor on social media,” an acknowledgment that suggested the post should not be taken too seriously. The “Entertainment Tonight” website also nodded to the likelihood that Sprouse posted the image in jest.
Numerous Instagram users replied to Sprouse’s post, including “Riverdale” co-star Skeet Ulrich who posted a series of laughing-face emojis. A comment from fellow actor Mason Gooding read, “Hate to see you go, love to watch u leave.”
FamousMen, a Twitter page that posts provocative images of male celebrities, posted an edited version of Sprouse’s post, seemingly altering it to show what it would look like without his edits:
Sprouse is popular on social media, with roughly 35.8 million followers on Instagram alone, as of this writing. Among his recent posts, the butt photograph was easily one of his most popular images.
For lack of better words, butts are big online (figuratively speaking) and in popular culture. For example, in May 2021, Snopes fact-checked a viral image that had many viewers wondering if frogs had “butts” similar to humans, and answered the pressing question, “Can some turtles breathe out of their butts?”
Khalifeh, Mona. “Sprouse’s NSFW Photo of His Butt Stuns the Internet.” ETonline.com, 7 June 2022, https://www.etonline.com/cole-sprouses-nsfw-photo-of-his-butt-stuns-the-internet-185351.
Quinn, Dave. “Cole Sprouse Bares His Butt in Cheeky Nude Instagram Pic: ‘Good Morning to My Publicity Team.’” PEOPLE.com, 7 June 2022, https://people.com/style/cole-sprouse-shares-a-cheeky-instagram-post/.