If there's any epidemic on Facebook, it has to be the overabundance of inspirational quotes attached to a dramatic image of a famous person. You know the ones: An old photo of someone recognizable saying something positively relatable. Don't get me wrong, this format can absolutely be moving and valuable, but more often than not, I get the sense that these posts sacrifice accuracy for impact.
Case in point: An uplifting entry from the Meryl L. Streep Facebook page that gained over a million likes and thousands of shares. It shows a photo of Meryl on the train and attributes a beautiful quote about beauty, perseverance, and pay-off.
Here's the post that was making waves
It's no wonder this gained so much traction online. It's cute, unexpected, and features Queen Meryl. Sadly, this post contains quite a bit of misinformation—starting with the fact it's trying to pass its page off as the actual Meryl Streep—and requires a lot of clearing up.
The picture and the quotation don't match
This photo was taken by Ted Thai sometime in the 1980s, years after the 1976 version of King Kong would have been cast. Meryl simply wouldn't have been returning from an audition that occurred in a different time and place.
Meryl never actually said this
If you're going to put quotation marks around a statement and clearly attribute it to someone, it better be their words. In this case, these words are almost entirely made-up.
However, the experience it discusses did actually happen to Meryl. She admitted on The Graham Norton Show that she auditioned for King Kong and was met with a frosty response from producer Dino De Laurentiis. He asked his son, who was recommending a then-unknown Meryl for the lead role, "Why do you bring me this ugly thing?" He was speaking Italian, a language he didn't realize Meryl speaks, and she responded with the shut-down "‘I’m sorry I’m not beautiful enough to be in King Kong."
It was not the elaborated message posted above.
It totally oversells the numbers of Meryl's Oscars
Yes, Meryl is a highly decorated actress who pretty much gets a de facto nomination at every Academy Awards. BUT, she has nowhere close to 18 Oscars. In reality, she has won three times and received 19 nominations. That's an amazing feat in itself, there's no need to exaggerate.
Due to all the misinformation and the people calling it out, the post has since been removed from the page.
This isn't the first time this has happened
Only a few weeks ago, Richard Gere was trending for supposedly posing as a homeless person to raise awareness. Only problem: he didn't actually do this. The star responded to the made-up situation and ultimately decided it did do some good:
Hi, Richard Gere here. I was completely surprised to find that last week someone posted a photo of me on a Facebook fan page as a homeless man on the streets of New York that drew 1.6 million likes and over a half-a-million shares. While the story that accompanied the photograph was somewhat fictional (especially the $100 hand-outs), it seemed to have touched something important in people.I'd like to find out what that is and what we can do together to make something good and meaningful happen for our homeless brothers and sisters.
Moral of the story: Do a quick Google search before you share a supposed "fact" on social media. It only takes a second, and you'll know that you're spreading the truth!