Bad photoshop and social media confusion led a Sikh journalist to be falsely identified as the terrorist behind deadly attacks on Paris in November, and now he is being accused by the internet mobs once again, this time following Thursday’s attack on Nice.
A selfie Veerender Jubbal took was photoshopped to include a suicide bomb vest and circulated online in following coordinated bombings and shootings in 2015 that left 130 people dead. Online harassment movement Gamergate was reportedly behind the troll, which left Jubbal fearing for his safety. He repeatedly clarified on Twitter at the time that he is from Canada, has never been to Paris, and was in no way connected to the attacks, but the rumors persisted, leading many, including some print publications, to fall for the accusation. He has since gone offline.
The unfortunate incident repeated itself on Thursday after a terrorist careened a large truck through a Bastille Day celebration in Nice, killing 84 people and injuring dozens more. One Twitter account posted the same photo from last year, naming Jubbal as the culprit behind the Nice tragedy. A screenshot grabbed by Trinity University professor SimranJeet Singh shows it was retweeted 88 times as of Thursday evening, but the account that tweeted the false accusation appears to have been suspended.
Singh urged people to end the revived rumors, saying Jubbal’s life “has never been the same” following the first round of accusations. Many Twitter and Reddit users are trying to do just that, making posts in Jubbal’s defense. The actual perpetrator of Thursday’s attacks has been identified as Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, a Tunisian man who held a French passport and lived in Nice. He was shot and killed by police at the scene of the tragedy.