Fact Check

Does This Photograph Show Obama Riding the Subway Next to an Open-Mouthed Sleeping Man?

Most of us who ride the subway have shared this experience at one time or another.

Published Nov 17, 2017

A photograph showing President Obama with a man sleeping on the subway is genuine.

An image purportedly showing President Obama standing near a sleeping man on the subway recirculated on social media in November 2017:

This doctored image was created by Instagram user @AverageRob and was first posted online in January 2017.

White House photographer Pete Souza took the original photograph on 26 February 2014. It showed President Obama and Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx touring a new rail car in St. Paul, Minnesota. All of the seats in the original photograph were unoccupied.

Here's a comparison of Average Rob's creation (left) and the genuine photograph taken by Pete Souza (right):

Instagram user @AverageRob has built a following by digitally adding himself to photographs with celebrities, including Beyoncé, Ryan Gosling, Kim Kardashian, and Spiderman, among others. President Obama makes frequent appearances in his creations.

Here's another (doctored) image of Average Rob and Obama:

A post shared by Average Rob (@averagerob) on

Dan Evon is a former writer for Snopes.

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