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Facebook posts about pandemic misrepresent London Olympics opening ceremony

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Author(s): AFP Australia

A segment of the 2012 London Olympics opening ceremony has been misrepresented in social media posts that claim it shows a “giant figure of death holding a needle” foreshadowing the Covid-19 pandemic. The claim is misleading; the cloaked figure in the ceremony was a puppet holding a wand, representing Harry Potter’s antagonist Voldemort, who appeared alongside various villains from children’s literature.

“One good thing about the Elitists they always like to let the world know what they have install for us. Problem is; even now too many dont get the message,” reads a Facebook post shared on on January 24, 2022.

The post shows photos of a giant hooded figure and nurses dressed in white uniforms.

The photo caption reads: “Remember the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics, with the giant figure of death holding a needle, the nurses dancing and all the children in hospital beds? It’s starting to make a lot more sense now. They’ve had this planned for a long time.”

A screenshot of the misleading claim shared on Facebook, taken on February 2, 2022

The Covid-19 pandemic has sparked a wave of conspiracy theories that the crisis was deliberately planned by a global elite in order to control the world.

The photo of the hooded figure was shared in similar Facebook posts here and here.

Some social media users appeared to be misled by the posts.

“People need to stop fearing the virus and wake up,” one person commented.

“Disgusting and so few see [the] reality,” another wrote.

However, the posts are misleading.

Voldemort puppet

British film director Danny Boyle conceived and directed the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games.

Part of the ceremony was dedicated to the National Health Service (NHS) and the UK’s extensive body of children’s literature, according to the 2012 Olympics website.

The image in the misleading posts shows a puppet of Voldemort, antagonist of J.K Rowling’s fantasy series Harry Potter, holding a wand, not a needle.

“A scene of children in hospital beds was overrun by literary villains including Captain Hook, Cruella De Vil, the Queen of Hearts and Voldemort,” according to the Olympics’ website.

“Before a group of flying nannies – reminiscent of Mary Poppins – arrived from the skies to banish the nightmarish characters”.

Footage of the ceremony shows the Voldemort puppet alongside the other villains from English literature.

AFP photographers also took numerous images of the puppets, which all explain the figures were a dedication to villains in British literature.

Giants puppets depicting villains from British literature including Lord Voldemort from the Harry Potter books and the Child Catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang swirl around the stage during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games. ( AFP / OLIVIER MORIN)

Similar posts misrepresenting images from the 2012 London Olympics were debunked by AFP Fact Check in 2020 here.

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Originally published here.