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Did The Simpsons really predict the riot at the United States Capitol?

Social media users have been sharing images that they say show how the iconic cartoon series The Simpsons predicted the storming of the United States Capitol building by extremist supporters of President Donald Trump on January 6, 2021.

Many people pointed to the similarities between an animated figure and Jake Angeli, one of the insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol. Angeli’s get-up – he wore an animal skin and horns on his head – earned him a spot on front pages across the country. However, the image attributed to The Simpsons is actually a photomontage and never appeared on the show.G

Back in the summer of 2020, some social media users claimed that the popular cartoon The Simpsons had predicted the protests against police violence and racial injustice that swept the United States after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Now, some are claiming that The Simpsons also predicted the storming of the Capitol on January 6. Amazed users have been sharing an image showing The Simpsons standing in front of the Capitol next to a person draped in the American flag and wearing an animal skin and horns on his head. 

The outfit looks strikingly similar to that worn by insurrectionist Jake Angeli when he participated in the riot on the Capitol. Because of this similarity, many social media users have been sharing the image and hailing the show’s creators as visionaries who predicted the insurrection. 

Social media user Novello Vladimiro hails the creators of The Simpsons as visionaries for, as he sees it, predicting the riot at the Capitol.

Why it is false 

It turns out, however, that this image is a photomontage of three distinct images created by an unknown person. It isn’t an excerpt from the animated series at all.

The first image used in the photomontage just shows the Simpson family. If you crop the image to just show the family, you can run the cropped image through a reverse image search (check out how by clicking here) to see the first time that image was posted online.

This is one of the original images used in the photomontage.
This is one of the original images used in the photomontage. ©

Using the same reverse image technique, we discovered that the background image of the Capitol building is from episode 2 of season 3 of The Simpsons. The image was flipped in the final montage.

This is the background image used for the photomontage.
This is the background image used for the photomontage. ©

Then, we used the same technique and cropped the image so it just showed the man wearing an animal skin and then ran that through a reverse image search. We discovered that the original image is from the video game “The Simpsons: Springfield” and is called “Bare Chested Willie.” The character appears in exactly the same position and stance on Simpsons fan websites. 

This photo was used in the photomontage.
This photo was used in the photomontage. ©

Even though this image doesn’t actually come from The Simpsons, it is true that the creators of the show did have a certain clairvoyance when analysing the state of American society. Their episode from November 1 last year imagined the end of Donald Trump’s term. 

In the episode, Homer forgets to go and vote in the election. As a result, on January 20, Inauguration Day, Homer has to fight against the robots who have taken control of the town of Springfield – a reference to the chaos they thought might follow the American presidential election.

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