Bristol Palin gave birth to her second child, a girl named Sailor Grace, on December 23, 2015. That’s what Sarah Palin wants you to believe, say truthers. Yes, with the birth of a new Palin baby comes the birth of a new conspiracy theory. In brief: Palin truthers claim Bristol is lying about when she gave birth in order to cover up the fact that her pregnancy was the result of a one-night stand.
This isn’t the first time the Palins have had to deal with wild internet skepticism surrounding a pregnancy, of course. After Bristol made her 16-and-pregnant debut alongside her VP candidate mother at the 2008 Republican National Convention, some speculated, in great detail, that the pregnancy was not her first. The claim, again in brief: Sarah’s son Trig is actually Bristol’s, and Sarah staged a huge hoax to cover it up.
That theory has never been definitely proven. (Or disproven, the Internet whispers.) Does this new claim hold any more water than the last? Let’s investigate.
Sailor’s birth story, according to the Palins
On March 14, 2015, both Bristol and Sarah announced that Bristol was engaged to Sgt. Dakota Meyer, a Marine veteran with a Medal of Honor. Bristol had not previously mentioned dating Meyer, but in her announcement on her blog, she said her mom introduced them:
Dakota came to Alaska to film Amazing America with my mom last year. He met Tripp during that time, and I’ve seen him in a few places where our paths have crossed since. He’s visited us in Alaska, and I’ve visited his wonderful family in Kentucky.
She also posted a now-deleted photo of them kissing on Instagram.
Sarah posted the good news on Facebook, noting that Meyer had proposed the night before during a special performance of Rascal Flatts’ “Bless the Broken Road.”
The wedding was apparently scheduled to occur two months later in Meyer’s hometown in Kentucky. But days before the May 23 ceremony, Sarah took to Facebook again to announce that the wedding was off.
Bristol did not comment except to say that the cancellation had nothing to do with Meyer’s previous marriage.
Then, on June 25, Bristol announced she was pregnant. In a post on her blog, she wrote, “I know this has been, and will be, a huge disappointment to my family, to my close friends, and to many of you.” She did not name the father.
None of us are perfect. I made a mistake, but it’s not the mistake all these giddy a$$holes have loved to assume. This pregnancy was actually planned. Everyone knows I wanted more kids, to have a bigger family. Believing I was heading that way, I got ahead of myself. Things didn’t go as planned, but life keeps going.
And by Christmas Eve, Bristol and the Palins seemed overjoyed to welcome the new baby into the world. Bristol announced in a December 24 Instagram post that Sailor was born December 23—
—and Sarah quickly followed up with a congratulatory Facebook post.
Again, the Palins did not name Sailor’s father, but Meyer posted on Twitter that Sailor was the “best Christmas present ever!!”
Best Christmas present ever!! I couldn't be more proud of this little blessing. pic.twitter.com/xCRi8oESRx— Dakota Meyer (@Dakota_Meyer) December 24, 2015
Why it’s all wrong, according to conspiracy theorists
Conspiracy theorists argue that the Palins’ pregnancy timeline is bunk. The theory originated with two posts on a Blogspot called “Right Wing Crooks”—one on December 25 and one on January 2, 2016. The second post is slightly more lucid and easier to follow; its overarching claim is that Bristol actually became pregnant in February—before getting engaged to Meyer—which would put her due date sometime in early November. To cover up this scandal, RWC argues, Bristol waited until late December to announce Sailor’s birth:
Why would [Palins] do this?? Simple — they wanted to make it appear the baby was Dakota Meyer’s child. If the baby were born in late December, that would place conception AFTER the Bristol-Dakota engagement, thereby making it appear that either:
Bristol and Dakota engaged in a little pre-marital sex, resulting in her becoming pregnant; or,
The baby was conceived after the May marriage and arrived a bit prematurely.
RWC takes a lot of liberty in analyzing Bristol’s Vegas photos, claiming the following:
- Since Bristol’s friend featured in the photos is a self-described “exotic model,” the two women must have “picked up one or more Vegas lounge lizards [and] wound up in a hotel room engaging in sex.”
- When Bristol posted another photo from Vegas weeks later with the comment “😂😂😂😂 no stings pulled this trip....... Just ruined my life the next night 😂😂😂😂😂 #worstvalemtimes#dahdahdahttt”, she must have meant that she “ruined her life” by getting pregnant.
In short, RWC’s Instagram-theorizing about the “real” paternity of Bristol’s baby is weak. But if Bristol did accidentally become pregnant before she got engaged—in Vegas or elsewhere—there’s an understandable motive as to why she would want the public to think she conceived after the engagement, or perhaps more ideally, after the wedding that was supposed to follow soon after.
Since giving birth to her son Tripp, Bristol has been a paid speaker for the Candie’s Foundation, an organization that aims to prevent unplanned pregnancies by preaching abstinence. In 2011 alone, Bristol made at least $262,000 speaking on behalf of the foundation. Had Bristol been married when she announced her pregnancy in June, she might not have had to deal with so many people calling her a hypocrite.
RWC’s theory hinges on two pieces of evidence. The first is Sarah Palin’s Facebook post congratulating Bristol on the birth:
According to the top line of the post, Sarah—or someone in charge of Sarah’s Facebook page—posted this photo from New Orleans, Louisiana, a far way from the Alaska hospital where Bristol supposedly gave birth the day before.
RWC also cites the hospital photo Bristol posted to announce the birth as proof of trickery:
RWC claims that the piece of tape on the heel of Bristol’s hand contains a date. That date should be the date that the IV was issued—12/23/2015. But according to RWC, the date actually reads 11/4/2015—the “real” day that Bristol gave birth. Here’s the RWC-manipulated evidence:
I consulted with Gawker Media’s Art Director Jim Cooke about RWC’s “proof,” and his expert opinion is as follows: “I would say that is manipulation with a bias.” He made a GIF from the original photo to show that one could manipulate it to show either date—12/23/15 or 11/4/15:
The Palins’ response
Perhaps giving more weight to RWC’s theory than she should, Bristol actually addressed the claim that she faked her baby’s birth date yesterday afternoon. She provided a new hospital photo to Entertainment Tonight, claiming that it shows an IV date of 12/22/15. “Admitted the night of 12/22/15 when they started my IV and then day of 12/23/15 had my baby girl!” she told ET.
Meyer, meanwhile, filed for joint custody of Sailor yesterday and asked the court for child support from Bristol. Sarah then followed up with ET, providing a statement about the claim in which she misspells Meyer’s name:
“For many months we have been trying to reach out to Dakota Myers [sic] and he has wanted nothing to do with either Bristol’s pregnancy or the baby,” Palin told ET.
“Paramount to the entire Palin family is the health and welfare of Sailor Grace,” she added, claiming that Meyer is attempting to “save face.”
Bristol’s rep David Martin added: “My values are such that a real American hero doesn’t ask for child support.”
Neither Sarah, Bristol, nor her rep confirmed Sailor’s paternity.
According to her Instagram, Bristol has been out shooting guns.
The Kristin Cavallari tie-in
There is one last piece of evidence in this twisted tale that has so far been ignored. When former Laguna Beach star Kristin Cavallari gave birth to a baby on November 23, 2015, Bristol—someone who does not know Cavallari personally—immediately posted a response on Instagram. Why? Well, Cavallari named her baby “Saylor James.” Bristol, who would not give birth for another month, posted the following photo:
In the caption, she wrote “when you find out @kristincavallari named her baby the exact name you are naming yours 🙀😳 what a weird coincidence .. congrats on your new bundle, and I do love her name.. Still naming my baby girl Sailor!”
Maybe Bristol picked the name “Sailor” well in advance, and she was strongly attached to it, for whatever reason.
Or maybe she had already signed the birth certificate.