A photo of an alleged suicide bomber involved in Friday’s terrorist attacks on Paris, picked up by multiple media outlets, turned out to be a photoshopped version of a Canadian freelance writer’s old selfie.
Veerender Jubbal, who describes himself as “a Sikh dude with a turban,” lives near Toronto and says he’s never been to Paris. In the original 2014 photo, he was holding an iPad, but the altered version replaces it with a Qur’an and adds a wired vest over Jubbal’s shirt.
Jubbal’s face made it to the front page of Spanish newspaper La Razon, where it was thumbnailed with the caption “one of the terrorists.” The paper later apologized on Twitter:
BuzzFeed reports the image spread through ISIS channels after being shared by “one of the largest — though unofficial — pro-ISIS channels on Telegram, the app that the extremist group used to take credit for the attacks in Paris,” but people on social media spotted it as a fake.
That’s an iPad, not a Quran, and the Dastar (turban) is worn by Sikhs. pic.twitter.com/xkKzJ0G65f— Grasswire Fact Check (@grasswirefacts) November 14, 2015
But who Photoshopped Jubbal’s selfie to begin with, and why was he targeted? Jubbal thinks he knows.
Last year, he became an outspoken critic of Gamergate, the toxic social movement that was ostensibly about reforming video game journalism, but soon diffused into a broader outrage against “social justice warriors” and “political correctness.” Last October, he was the first person to tweet the hashtag #StopGamerGate2014.
Gamers are absolute garbage like I have been saying for a full year. People will not stop harassing, and bothering me. I am cute as gosh.— Veerender Jubbal (@Veeren_Jubbal) November 14, 2015
At the very least, some of them are quite pleased about what he’s been put through over the past couple of days:
@Veeren_Jubbal We know you're not a terrorist. But after you called me one, I can't feel sympathy. Karma's a bitch when you are, too.— Josho's Girl (@WynterWyfe) November 15, 2015