Fact Check

Was a Pregnant Woman Beaten by a 'Muslim Refugee' in Oklahoma?

Not life imitating art, but life misrepresenting art.

Published May 5, 2017

A heavily pregnant woman was beaten by a Muslim refugee in Oklahoma.

In April 2017, claims a woman who was seven months pregnant was badly beaten by a "Muslim refugee" in Oklahoma began spreading on social media:

breaking 7 month pregnant woman beaten by muslim refugee in oklahoma

The claims were spread by sites such as True Trumpers and The New York Evening, but neither site included any details about the purported attack other than an picture. True Trumpers' brief, poorly written, and ominous caption stated: "BREAKING NEWS: This 7 month pregnant woman was beaten by Muslim refugee in Oklahoma. Do you support hang him?"

The New York Evening's version also lacked any details whatsoever and bore the same broken English as True Trumpers' did.

Both posts largely rely on a photograph to flesh out their claims, but that image was actually a still frame from the 2014 thriller movie Proxy, in which a pregnant woman miscarried after being beaten by an unknown assailant:

The film, which debuted at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival and hits theaters on April 18, begins with a shocking assault. Alexia Rasmussen, playing a lonely pregnant woman named Esther, is brutally assaulted within minutes of the movie’s opening, suffering a brutal beating that carries with it serious consequences both physical and psychological.

Both True Trumpers and The New York Evening are known purveyors of fake news, and in this case they used a stolen screenshot from a (fictional) movie to bolster their false claims.

Another version of this story popped up in late April 2017 on the websites Red Country and bluevision.news. In this case those pages, which lacked an accompanying photograph, asked readers: "This is 78 years old Trump supporter woman who was beaten by Muslim refugees in Ohio. Trump going to deport them all ... Do you support this?"

A 78 year-old woman was not beaten by Muslim refugees in Ohio, nor has President Trump promised to deport all Muslim refugees.

Kim LaCapria is a former writer for Snopes.

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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