FACT CHECK:   Did Donald Trump say he supported Cecil the Lion’s killer and pledge to pay his legal fees?

Claim:   Donald Trump said he supports Cecil the Lion’s killer and pledged to pay his legal fees.

  FALSE

Example:     [Collected via Twitter, August 2015]

Origins:    On 1 August 2015, the Facebook page “Fox News the FB Page” published a photograph and article titled “Trump Doubles Down in Support of Hunter.” (The article appeared to gather more views on the personal account of a LinkedIn user who subsequently shared it.)

Accompanied by the screenshot above (ostensibly taken from a television broadcast), the article claimed:

New York (Fox News) Donald J. Trump issued a statement in support of the euthanasia of a man eating lion killed in Muslim Africa earlier this week.

Dr.Walter Palmer noted hunter and tea party activist killed the monster responsible for over 40 rumored deaths.It was known to locals as CECIL the LION.

An autopsy on the big cat showed it had high levels of THC the active chemical in marijuana,in it’s blood.Dr.Motobu Kubooloo of the African National Dangerous Animals Association said it probably ate marijuana plants in the wild and became addicted to them.Marijuana is known to make lions violent and unpredictable,just as in humans.

Trump said he would pay and legal fees the doctor may incur fighting Obama’s “gun grabbing state department regulations”,Trump said,”when this is over,I’m taking him out for pizza with myself and Sarah Palin.”

Perhaps due to a convincing (but faked) screen grab and use of the Fox News logo, many social media users believed the claim was legitimate. While “Fox News The FB Page” uses a logo identical to the one used by Fox News, that social media account is not affiliated with Fox News Channel.

“Fox News The FB Page” is a parody group, posting both altered versions of current news stories and entirely-fabricated items. An example of the latter included a claim that NASCAR was replacing its flag with an updated, rainbow gay pride version.

Last updated:      3 August 2015

Originally published:    3 August 2015