Fact Check

Did an Energy Co. CEO Disparage Native Americans as 'Dirty Natives'?

A online image claims Energy Transfer Partners CEO Kelcy Warren made a comically villainous statement about "dirty natives" and Dakota Pipeline protesters.

Published Oct. 24, 2016

Energy Transfer Partners CEO Kelcy Warren said "America's freedom" would not be disrupted by "dirty natives" engaged in a DAPL protest.

In October 2016 the image shown above began circulating, consisting of a photograph of Energy Transfer Partners CEO Kelcy Warren and a quote attributed to him: "America's freedom won't be held back by a bunch of dirty natives with their phoney spirituality and dumb ass ecological concerns":

The image pertained to a dispute over the Dakota Access Pipeline and ongoing acrimony between protesters and the pipeline's advocates. The original poster of the image was asked for citations and asserted that the quote had been verified by "fact check" but provided no links to any such verification:

fact check kelcy l warren

fact check kelcy warren

Separate postings of the image included comments to the same effect, that no one who had attempted to authenticate the quote had been successful in doing so:

1 kelcy warren dirty natives

1 kelcy warren quote

Although a number of social media users supportive of the protests attempted to ascertain the quote's validity (and opined that it looked implausible as presented), none of them was able to produce evidence the comments were authentic. Some users also shared a Twitter account purportedly belonging to Warren, which appeared to be fake and had emerged well after the protests were underway. Some commenters cited various sources (a conference call, an unspecified publication, articles that did not include the purported quote), but none of them checked out as a credible or related source.

Energy Transfer Partners did not respond to our request for comment.

Kim LaCapria is a former writer for Snopes.

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