On Oct. 24, 2023, a purported screenshot of a Guardian article went viral, on the pretense that it was written by Guardian columnist Owen Jones, with the headline, “Without Israeli Oppression Gaza can become a LGBTQIA2S+ Mecca.” The screenshot included the subheading, “Gaza would be a sanctuary city for trans women in a free and inclusive Palestine.”
— Dr. Simon Goddek (@goddeketal) October 24, 2023
The screenshot is fake and appears to be satirical in nature.
First, on the top right of the image, it reads “The Grauniad” instead of “The Guardian.” Secondly, we found no evidence that Jones had written such a story, or that anything of the kind had appeared on The Guardian's website. Finally, Jones issued his own denial by resharing a post from Marc Owen Jones (no relation to Jones, to our knowledge), a professor of Middle East studies, who pointed out that it was a fake screenshot.
Marc Owen Jones wrote, “Now people are using the mass killing of Palestinians as an opportunity to attack @OwenJones84. The below image is a fake screenshot falsely claiming Guardian columnist Owen Jones wrote an article 'Without Israeli Oppression #Gaza can become a LGBTQIA2S Mecca' #disinfo.”
2/ One covid conspiracist sharing it @goddeketal - has racked up almost 300k views and +4k likes. Firstly, and I can't believe I have to explain this). The screenshot says the "Grauniad" -not @guardian. This is the satirical name given to it by the likes of @PrivateEyeNews ❤️ pic.twitter.com/dj2Xuxr6p7
— Marc Owen Jones (@marcowenjones) October 25, 2023
He also noted that “Grauniad” is the satirical name used in reference to The Guardian by Private Eye News, a humor magazine. He stated that despite the satirical origin of the screenshot, many online were sharing it with malicious intent, and others saw it as true. He added that such false headlines were potentially dangerous for Jones (who publicly identifies as gay on his X account).
Jones, the columnist, has frequently written stories condemning the Israeli military bombardment of Gaza in October 2023, in which thousands of Palestinians died. The fake post appears to poke fun at Jones' critical stance against Israel's actions by sarcastically drawing attention to the lack of rights for LGBTQ people in Palestine.
However, numerous pro-Palestine activists say that Palestine’s poor record of LGBTQ rights have been weaponized to support Israel's “pinkwashing” efforts, which emphasize that the Israeli government must be supported because it is the only place in the Middle East that protects LGBTQ people. Israel’s “gay-friendly” image, activists argue, is used to disguise state-sanctioned oppression against all Palestinian people including those who are members of the LGBTQ community.
Given that the above post was clearly fabricated, using a satirical name to spoof The Guardian, and that we found no evidence that such an article was ever written by Jones, we rate this image as Fake.