Did the CEO of Harley Davidson bash President Trump, calling him a moron?
The answer is no, he didn’t call Trump a moron. But, if you were one of the tens of thousands of people who retweeted or liked this viral tweet you may believe he did.
According to this 100 percent false tweet, the CEO of Harley Davidson Matthew Levatich blasted Donald Trump for starting a trade war and blamed him for their decision to move some of their operations overseas.
It is true that the motorcycle company is blaming the resulting EU tariffs for their decision to move some production overseas. And the President did take to, where else, Twitter to voice his displeasure with Harley Davidson for the decision to move production. This does perhaps lend a little credence to the fact that, maybe, a CEO would put out some sort of statement defending his company from the attacks.
A Harley-Davidson should never be built in another country-never! Their employees and customers are already very angry at them. If they move, watch, it will be the beginning of the end - they surrendered, they quit! The Aura will be gone and they will be taxed like never before!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 26, 2018
But that Harley Davidson statement, the one that’s spreading like wildfire on the web, is false. It’s completely untrue.
The original tweet is from a Twitter user who goes by Judy Tinsleman with the handle @tinsleman. The Twitter account was created this month, according to the creation date listed in the account's bio. A quick search on websites like PeopleFinder and Spokeo bring up zero results for a person going by the name Judy Tinsleman in the United States. Before the Harley Davidson CEO went viral, the account had barely any Twitter followers. The account seems to have tweeted various made-up “breaking news” tweets with varying levels of success in spreading through Twitter earlier this month.
BREAKING NEWS: Micheal Cohen tells Mueller team @realDonaldTrump conspired with Putin to help him win the election. Cohen tells Mueller #Trump owes Putin and Deutsche Bank 900 million dollars. Trump laundered 4.6 billion dollars of Russian money. @FoxNews @foxandfriends @CNN
— Judy Tinsleman (@tinsleman) June 16, 2018
On the same day @tinsleman tweeted the fake Harley Davidson CEO quote, Twitter published a blog post detailing how they’re taking action against spam bots and malicious accounts. In the post, they explained how they’re tackling many of the problems with the platform. Yet just looking at @tinsleman’s account, from hashtag-stuffing to multiple spammy @ mentions, it's easy to see a number of warning signs that should have tipped off Twitter according to their own post!
Twitter users believing the Harley Davidson CEO statement are now copying the fake quote to tweet from their own accounts. Those tweets are racking up thousands of retweets on their own, too.
Celebrities are also spreading the fake quote.
I just deleted a post that I put up earlier think it thinking it was a quote from the CEO of Harley Davidson. It was fallacious. Yes, even the Perl can have the wool pulled over his eyes.
— Ron Perlman (@perlmutations) June 27, 2018
The spreading of this fake quote is getting so out of hand that Harley Davidson has put out a statement via their own Twitter account calling the quote a complete fabrication.
“It’s shameful we live in a time when people create fake quotes. There’s one attributed to me on Twitter. I have not, nor would I ever speak about the President of the United States or anyone else in that way.”
- Matt Levatich, President and CEO, Harley-Davidson, Inc. pic.twitter.com/y2wIut1DEg
— Harley-Davidson (@harleydavidson) June 27, 2018
At the time of this the original tweet with the fake Harley Davidson CEO quote has 27,725 retweets. The real Harley Davidson statement debunking the quote has 750 retweets.