Polish artist’s work doctored to include Osama bin Laden’s name
Digital art from 2019 makes no mention of Osama bin Laden
Claim: Viral screenshot claims that a Polish artist made a digital cartoonised version of Osama bin Laden.
Fact: The artist, in fact, created artwork of a character called Alex Willow, not Osama bin Laden. Her art was doctored to include bin Laden’s name and went viral.
On 20 May 2022, Twitter user @ratbastard400 shared digital art allegedly showing a cartoonised bio card of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. The tweet was in response to Twitter user @waveafterdark criticising “the phenomenon of people turning fictional serial killers/terrorists into UwU cutesy types”.
UwU, a slang term commonly used on the Internet, is an emoticon depicting a cute face, according to Dictionary.com. In this context, it refers to artists and admirers turning real or fictional ‘evil’ characters into relatable, affectionate, and friendly individuals or presenting a soft image of them.
The art shows a curly-haired masculine person, wearing a green, half-sleeved shirt, and lists down various characteristics, including sexuality, birthdate, pronouns, personality type, and star sign, among others.
Fact or Fiction?
Soch Fact Check went through comments under the original post and found two tweets — by users @m0nst3r1nks and @GRUMM9301 — that shared screenshots of what appeared to be the original artwork, which made no mention of Osama bin Laden.
We then used Google Reverse Image Search and TinEye Reverse Image Search, which revealed that the doctored artwork was shared on numerous websites and platforms, most popular of which was Tumblr.
Soch Fact Check reached out to Polish artist Nicole — the artist whose name is visible in the screenshot — on her Instagram account @astrolavas.
Nicole confirmed to us that she had made the original artwork and shared it on her Instagram account on 27 January 2019. Her original artwork shows the character’s name as Alex Willow, not Osama bin Laden.
Nicole informed Soch Fact Check that she has “archived it [the post] since” the doctored version resurfaced online. However, she sent us a screenshot of the post to confirm it was hers.
The image has appeared on various social media platforms and has been reblogged on Tumblr multiple times. On Twitter, it was posted in 2020 here, here, and here as well. It also appeared on a spam website here.
Conclusion: The artist confirmed to Soch Fact Check that she created artwork of a character called Alex Willow, not Osama bin Laden. The viral posts contain a doctored version of her art.