Eric Woerth, a senior French MP came under fire on Twitter after posting a picture supposedly showing him climbing a vertical snow-covered rock in the Alps, clad in full alpine gear. A breathtaking shot, to be sure, save for a few minor details.
The photo, posted Monday, shows very clearly a tangled rope “stuck” to the supposed side of the mountain. Two people are also seen walking at what would be a 90-degree angle to the horizon. Sharp-eyed netizens also noticed that a piece of Woerth’s gear hangs toward the slope as if attracted by a magnet. It soon becomes obvious that the entire photo was simply rotated 90 degrees.
Needless to say, such a “poorly” doctored photo sparked a wave of comments debunking the “fake” and accusing the politician of a scam. Comments quickly got the attention of French media who reported the supposed sensation.
La tirette de votre fermeture éclair qui ignore la gravité et pend en direction de la montagne. Vos deux amis qui en second plan ignorent eux aussi la gravité et marchent sur la montagne que vous devez escalader. C'est suspect tout ça... 🤔 pic.twitter.com/1SRPKKUEI3— Majid Oukacha (@MajidOukacha) August 12, 2019
Woerth, however, remained adamant that the photo is genuine, as did mountain guide Jean-Franck Charlet.
“I am the guide who accompanied Eric Woerth,” he wrote on Twitter. “This photo is 100% real, even if the slope at 45 degrees appears a little steeper than it is in reality. This slope is not a simple one […] it’s one that has been the site of numerous accidents in the past.”
However, the obvious absence of effort put into “doctoring” the photo, including the rope put in the foreground as if on purpose, might indicate that the entire thing is a simple prank. Chalet dropped a veiled hint that this could be the case in another comment.
“I am astonished that a simple photograph has sparked so many critical and ironic comments from internet users and climbers, comments widely taken up by our great national media […] who have simply picked this up easily and without any professionalism made no effort to contact the person who took the photo and by doing so establish the truth,” Charlet remarked.
The irony appears lost on the internet. As is said, when making jokes online, the most important thing is not to overdo the serious face.