The claim: Photo of Jeff Bezos and William Shatner wearing matching jackets shows space flights were a hoax
William Shatner, the 90-year-old actor best known for playing Captain James T. Kirk in "Star Trek," recently became the oldest person to visit space. His Oct. 13 trip was made in a rocket developed by Blue Origin, a private aerospace company founded by Jeff Bezos.
But some social media users are claiming that Shatner's journey was a hoax.
An Instagram page shared an image on Oct. 17 of what appears to be Bezos and Shatner wearing matching Blue Origin jackets.
"Fake portrait shots?! Their jackets are identical down to the wrinkles," the text above the image reads. "Wake up folks!! It's all CGI science fiction propaganda."
The post generated about 3,000 likes in less than a week. Several social media users shared this post.
There is some computer fakery at work here, but it's in the photo, not the space travel. The flights were real, but the photo presented here was digitally altered. Spokespeople for Shatner and Blue Origin confirmed the image was not authentic.
USA TODAY reached out to the social media user for comment.
Image of Shatner is altered
The photo of Shatner is not real and was not taken by Blue Origin, according to Sara Blask, spokesperson for Blue Origin. Paul Camuso, a spokesman for the actor, confirmed the Shatner image is fake.
The image of Bezos is a real portrait released by Blue Origin, according to Reuters.
But the picture of Shatner's head comes from the premiere of CBS's "Star Trek: Discovery" he attended in Hollywood in 2017. The image was captured by Mark Ralston of Agence-France Presse.
The combined image being shared by social media users was digitally altered so that Shatner's head was positioned onto the jacket.
"The Mission Patch for Mr. Shatner's flight was different than the flight Mr. Bezos took, yet the photo shows the patch from Mr. Bezos' flight," said Camuso "The name says W Shatner and then under it says AKA Capt. James T. Kirk."
Space flights really happened
The post claims the altered photo shows the space flights were "CGI science fiction propaganda," but that's nonsense.
Blue Origin "successfully completed its second human spaceflight onboard New Shepard," according to a press release put out by the company. Shatner embarked on the journey with Chris Boshuizen, Glen de Vries and Audrey Powers.
Images of Shatner and the crew can be found on Blue Origin's Instagram page and on the press release. Shatner's flight was widely covered by various media outlets, as was the original Blue Origin space flight taken by Bezos on July 20.
Our rating: Altered
Based on our research, we rate ALTERED a photo that shows Bezos and Shatner wearing matching jackets, which is presented as proof their space flights were a hoax. Spokespeople for Shatner and Blue Origin confirmed the image was not authentic. Blue Origin shared the details of Shatner's journey to space in a press release. Extensive media coverage shows the space flights involving both men actually occurred.
Our fact-check sources:
Paul Camuso, Oct. 21, email exchange with USA TODAY
Sara Blask, Oct. 21, email exchange with USA TODAY
Blue Origin, accessed Oct. 22, About Blue Origin
Getty Images, Sept. 19, 2017, Premiere of CBS "Star Trek: Discovery"
Blue Origin, Oct. 13, Blue Origin successfully and safely completes second human flight to space and back
Blue Origin, Oct. 10, Instagram picture of Shatner and his crew
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: William Shatner, Jeff Bezos claim uses altered image