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Michael Portillo Has Not Been Attacked By Anti-Fascists Despite What Twitter Says

Anatomy of a fake Twitter account.

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Twitter went into overdrive when Railway-loving This Week star Michael Portillo appeared to tweet saying he'd been attacked by anti-fascists on Saturday afternoon.


People were disgusted:

@MichaelPortillo That's terrible Michael, the Antifascists claim to be on the side of the people but they are anything but that!

@MichaelPortillo Outrageous in any circumstances, but especially given your own record and that of your father

@MichaelPortillo Think you can now see the "anti-fascists" for what they are Michael they are the ones acting like fascists on a daily basis

The account then launched a series of tweets attacking anti-fascists.


But all isn't quite as it seems.

The image of Michael Portillo's supposed black eye is very small, which suggests it has been tightly cropped from a larger image. This rarely happens, even when an image is cropped on a phone before being tweeted.

What's more, look closely at the image and the seat number '24' has been reversed. This suggests the image has been flipped and manipulated by someone.

In addition, the account was only set up on Friday. The odds of Portillo being attacked and posting about it the day after his first tweet are small.

On @HackneyAbbott's advice I have decided to set up my very first Twitter account. Glad to be here Twitter! -MP

In turns out that the black eye image has actually been created using an out-of-focus picture of Portillo on TV. It was originally tweeted earlier this year.

Michael Portillo tries to blend in with his surroundings.

Someone has then cropped this image, reversed it and added a 'black eye' to Portillo's face.

Just for confirmation, This Week has already warned about fake accounts associated with Portillo.

For those asking about a new twitter account claiming it belongs to Michael Portillo, it is a FAKE ACCOUNT and nothing to do Michael.

In short, someone has spent their Bank Holiday weekend going to quite extraordinary lengths to smear anti-fascists using a fake profile associated with a Conservative cabinet minister from the mid-90s.

Twitter is a strange place.

Jim Waterson is a politics editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Jim Waterson at

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