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”:
This is the filthy 1% that has bribed n.dakota governor n law enforcement pic.twitter.com/XTyuW899r2
— Thunder Walks About (@notaxiwarrior) October 23, 2016
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:
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.