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Someone Photoshopped A Sikh Man To Look Like An Alleged Paris Attacker And It Went Viral

A photoshopped image of Veerender Jubbal, an outspoken critic of GamerGate, was distributed online as a photo of one of the Paris attackers and has been printed in newspapers around the world.

1. An image began to circulate on social media Saturday afternoon claiming to show one of the Paris attackers wearing a suicide bomb vest.

This tweet has been deleted / Via Twitter: @abutalut8

2. The image was even shared by one of the largest — though unofficial — pro-ISIS channels on Telegram, the app that the extremist group used to take credit for the attacks in Paris.

BuzzFeed News / Khilafah News / Telegram

3. However, the image soon began to attract skepticism from social media users.

4. When examined closely, the image appears to have been photoshopped. It includes many elements that would be unlikely for a member of a radical Islamist sect.

BuzzFeed News

5. Veerender Jubbal, a Canadian man who is Sikh, then tweeted that the selfie actually showed him — not a radical Islamist terrorist.

6. Jubbal tweeted the original bathroom selfie as proof.

Ready:

— Veerender Jubbal (@Veeren_Jubbal)

So, like, it spread.

— Veerender Jubbal (@Veeren_Jubbal)

Has spread to the point, where many people have had to tweet about the photos being photoshopped.. Any support/nice messages are welcome.

— Veerender Jubbal (@Veeren_Jubbal)

9. He added he has never been to Paris.

You can all check the last retweets. Let us start with basics. Never been to Paris. Am a Sikh dude with a turban. Lives in Canada.

— Veerender Jubbal (@Veeren_Jubbal)

10. He attributed the faked image to supporters of Gamergate, a controversial online movement. He has been sparring with its followers on the internet for a year. He briefly left Twitter earlier this year.

Gamers are absolute garbage like I have been saying for a full year. People will not stop harassing, and bothering me. I am cute as gosh.

— Veerender Jubbal (@Veeren_Jubbal)

11. People who identify as pro-Gamergaters have been gleefully sharing news of Jubbal’s misidentification.

So @Veeren_Jubbal gets labeled an ISIS terrorist by the same corrupt, biased media he has been defending while smearing #GamerGate - Karma!

— Christi Junior (@ChristiJunior)

Wait, @Veeren_Jubbal lives in Canada? No wonder he is a complete unlikable asshole. I guarantee you he lives in Toronto. #GamerGate

— Reformed Samurai (@ReformedSamurai)

@Veeren_Jubbal We know you're not a terrorist. But after you called me one, I can't feel sympathy. Karma's a bitch when you are, too.

— Josho's Girl (@WynterWyfe)

14. Despite the unwanted attention, Jubbal noted on Saturday night that he remains valuable, rad, and “cute as gosh.”

Learn the difference between me being a Sikh, and a Muslim. Cry in mug, while I use your tears to water my garden. I am valuable, and rad.

— Veerender Jubbal (@Veeren_Jubbal)

15. However, things changed early Sunday morning after some media outlets saw Jubbal’s photo circulating. One of the largest papers in Spain published his photo on the front page as if he had been involved in the Paris attacks.

Lo primero, como cada día, nuestra portada https://t.co/RNwPb8iyI9

— La Razón (@larazon_es)

16. The Italian television channel TG24 tweeted Jubbal’s image to its 1.98 million followers.

L'#Isis ha inviato una foto dei presunti #kamikaze. https://t.co/cDqTVlDB0v

— Sky TG24 (@SkyTG24)

17. The photoshopped picture was also apparently part of a segment on the channel’s website.

18. Later on Sunday, Jubbal tweeted that the image had spread from European media outlets to publications in Asia.

I hope everyone has caught up with what is going on with me. I went viral due to a photoshopped image claiming I am a terrorist.

— Veerender Jubbal (@Veeren_Jubbal)

Well, just got a phone call from a cousin in India, and they know about it; and saw the whole thing in India Times. We might sue, I guess.

— Veerender Jubbal (@Veeren_Jubbal)

In gauging this entire incident--millions upon millions of people have seen the photoshopped images, and have placed me as a terrorist.

— Veerender Jubbal (@Veeren_Jubbal)

21. On Monday, Jubbal released a statement, saying the last two days had been “deeply disturbing.”

The statement, released through the Sikh Coalition, read in part:

Over the weekend, a photograph was doctored to suggest that I was one of the terrorists associated with the Paris tragedy. This despicable action was then quickly made worse when some international news outlets decided to share the image as truth. Let me be clear — the photograph is a fake and I am not affiliated with terrorism of any kind.

While the past 48 hours have been deeply disturbing on a personal level, the broader impact of this image going viral for the Sikh community is what upsets me the most. Sikh articles of faith, such as our turbans and beards, represent a commitment to universal justice, equality, and helping others (seva), yet Sikhs continue to be mistakenly and offensively associated with terrorist networks abroad.

The Sikh community has faced significant violence and discrimination following major terrorist attacks because of our religious appearance. We must be better than this.

The full statement is here.

Correction: An earlier headline on this story said GamerGate supporters were to blame for photoshopping Jubbal, accusing him of the Paris attacks. It has been changed to show that Jubbal believes they were behind the photoshop and that GamerGate supporters pushed the idea on social media.

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Ellie Hall is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, D.C.
Contact Ellie Hall at ellie.hall@buzzfeed.com.