In March 2016, a photograph purportedly showing two children holding a sign reading "FUCK DONALD TRUMP" at a Chicago protest was spread widely online:
While we can't conclusively say that this picture has been manipulated, there are some reasons to be skeptical of its authenticity.
This image began circulating online on 13 March 2016, shortly after Donald Trump canceled his appearance at a political rally in Chicago due to clashes between his supporters and protesters:
Donald Trump's campaign postponed a rally in Chicago amid fights between supporters and demonstrators, protests in the streets and concerns that the environment at the event was no longer safe.
The announcement, which came amid large protests both inside and outside the event at the University of Illinois at Chicago, follows heightened concerns about violence in general at the GOP front-runner's rallies.
While many news outlets used the protests as a launching point to talk about the Republican presidential candidate's violent rhetoric in regard to demonstrators, the conversation turned racial in several corners of the Internet. The forums on xoxohth.com and Auto Admit, for instance, were among the first to post this photograph, which was followed by a series of racial slurs and at least one comment stating that someone should "kill [the pictured children] before they grow up."
Many of these postings also claimed that this photograph was taken during that Chicago protest, but that is clearly not the case as photograph taken by Sidney Rehg on 11 March 2016 in St. Louis featured the very same "We Shall Overcomb" sign visible in the background of the "fuck Donald Trump" image:
Additionally, another photograph taken at the same St. Louis rally showed the two children pictured in the controversial "Fuck Donald Trump" photograph, apparently holding no sign at all in their hands:
While we're certain that this image was taken in St. Louis and not Chicago, it's still unclear if the children in captured were actually holding a "Fuck Donald Trump" sign. But We do know that the sign itself did exist and was brought to the rally, thanks to a photograph posted by Flickr user Ed Rahe:
This protester was also captured in another photograph taken by St. Louis Today reporter Kristen Taketa:
That same protester was photographed standing close by the children in question, so it's certainly possible that person handed them the sign (or discarded it and they picked it up):
Since our attempts to locate the original source of the controversial photograph have not yet been successful we can't conclusively say whether the children were captured holding the sign or whether it was digitally added into a separate photograph. We've reached out to Rahe, Taketa, and Rehg to see if they recall these children interacting with the "Fuck Donald Trump" protester.