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Elon Musk, right-wing media personalities post unverified claims about cannibalism in Haiti

The US State Department and non-profit organisations said they had no credible information regarding the claims

Michelle Del Rey
Friday 15 March 2024 08:06 GMT
NYC Haitians react to crisis in Haiti

Elon Musk and other right-wing influencers are being accused of spreading disinformation about Haiti, claiming that some of the country’s citizens are engaging in cannibalism as civil unrest persists.

Earlier this week, Mr Musk posted an unverified video to his social media platform X, which showed unsubstantiated claims of cannibalism in Haiti. The social media company took down the video after it became clear that the claims could not be confirmed and likely stemmed from disinformation. The Independent reached out to X for comment.

Despite the lack of verification, other prominent right-wing individuals were posting the allegations as well.

Ian Miles Cheong took to X to write about how cannibal gangs in Hait allegedly abduct and eat people. After an NBC News article about the claims was published stating the allegations were unsubstantiated, Mr Cheong appeared to continue posting the claims.

“The Haitian Barbecue is the only potluck where all your enemies are very much invited to attend as part of the meal,” he wrote in one post. “Never ask the chef what Haitian barbecue sauce is made of,” he said in another.

Dom Lucre, another social media personality, tweeted a video of the alleged cannibalism that has now been deleted by the platform.

The recent rumours likely gained traction after a report was published by the Daily Express, a British tabloid, quoting an unnamed source regarding the cannibalism claims as the country continues to plunge into a state of emergency.

Even so, the unnamed source added, “Cannibalism is not widespread, but definitely an indication of the worsening situation. It definitely happens on a few occasions.” The reporter did not say they had witnessed cannibalism themselves.

The US State Department told The Independent it has not received any credible reports about cannibalism. A spokesperson continued: “People should seek fact-based verification of sensational claims from credible sources before sharing on social media.”

According to NBC News, Doctors Without Borders and Human Rights Watch also said they had no information regarding cannibalism in the country.

The claims are circulating as Haiti continues to experience a serious crisis in which its government is on the brink of collapse.

Earlier this month, gangs incited a series of attacks in Port-Au-Prince, the country’s capital, including at the main international airport and seaport, both of which are now closed. The armed groups have claimed responsibility for burning several police stations and freeing thousands of prisoners from the country’s national prison which was set on fire on Thursday.

The country’s former Prime Minister Ariel Henry was unable to return to the country after the attacks started and has been in Puerto Rico for about a week. He announced his intentions to resign from his post on Tuesday and global leaders are planning a multinational security support mission that’ll involve choosing his replacement.

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