Fact check: Canadian government did not issue a letter banning use of 'Let's go Brandon'

·3 min read

The claim: The Canadian government issued a letter threatening to fire employees who use an anti-Biden phrase

Critics of President Joe Biden are using the phrase “Let’s go Brandon” to mock him at sporting events and on social media.

The anti-Biden slogan started when NASCAR racer Brandon Brown did an interview with NBC’s Kelli Stavast on live television following his victory at Alabama’s Talladega Superspeedway. Fans in the background directed a vulgar chant toward Biden. Stavast referenced the chant as “Let’s go Brandon.”

The euphemistic phrase has been repeated at major sporting events and former President Donald Trump's rallies. TikTok rapper Loza Alexander’s song about the incident made its way to No.1 on Apple Music's Top Hip-Hop/Rap chart list, according to news reports.

Now, widely shared social media posts claim a Canadian government agency issued a letter banning usage of “Let’s go Brandon.”

The purported memo, which was shared to Facebook on Oct. 18 by Secure America Now and accumulated more than 1,000 reactions within a few days, claims the letter was sent out to federal employees by Shared Services Canada, an agency that handles government tech support.

“The uses of colloquialism or sayings with intended double meaning or offense are strictly prohibited in all means of correspondence and/or communication,” the letter reads. “Specifically, the use of the wording ‘Let’s Go Brandon’ and any variation thereof under any circumstance is banned by the Canadian Public Service.”

The image has been shared on Twitter, Reddit and news sites, which updated their articles after independent fact-checking organizations reported the letter is not authentic.

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The Facebook page that shared the post did not return a request for comment.

Memo is fake

Shared Services Canada told USA TODAY that the letter was not sent out by the agency.

"We can confirm this message was not issued by Shared Services Canada and it does not reflect departmental policy," Denis Schryburt, a spokesman for Shared Services Canada, said via email.

Canadian news site National Post notes certain elements of the memo indicate it is not real, such as how the letterhead is indented compared to authentic memos. The outlet also pointed out that Shared Services primarily handles communication digitally due to the coronavirus pandemic, and Canadian government departments are not known to guarantee “immediate dismissal without recourse or labour union representation.”

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Further, the Public Service Alliance of Canada, a union representing the department’s employees and mentioned in the letter, told the Agence France-Presse, that its leadership did not sign off on the memo.

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The photo of the fake document gained virality when it was shared to Twitter on Oct. 17 by Peter McCaffrey, founder and president of the Alberta Institute in Canada. In a subsequent tweet, he wrote, “I am somewhat relieved to hear that this letter is, apparently, not genuine.”

Our rating: False

Based on our research, we rate FALSE the claim that the Canadian government issued a letter threatening to fire employees who use the phrase “Let’s go Brandon.” Shared Services Canada said it did not send out any such memo, and it does not reflect departmental policy. Certain details of the letter also reveal that it is not real.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Canada government memo banning ‘Let’s Go Brandon’ is fake

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