CLAIM: A video shows French President Emmanuel Macron becoming a “human wreath” during his official welcome to French Polynesia, as leis are layered over him from his head to his knees.
THE FACTS: The video was manipulated to add numerous garlands beyond those actually draped around Macron’s neck as part of a traditional welcoming ceremony as he arrived in Tahiti’s Faa’a International Airport on July 24 for meetings in French Polynesia.
The altered video made it appear as though Macron was swamped by leis from his head to his knees. In the original footage, which was filmed by Agence France Presse, Macron can be seen with several leis draped over him, but not to the extent shown in the altered video social media users shared online.
The Associated Press took similar footage of Macron at the airport near Papeete, the capital of French Polynesia.
“Emmanuel Macron is greeted with a welcome ceremony as he begins his first official trip to French Polynesia,” read one tweet that shared the manipulated screenshot of Macron.
The former French colony is made up of five archipelagos with a total of 118 islands. Since 2004, it has had autonomous status, defined as “an overseas country within the republic” which “is governed freely and democratically, by its representatives.”
But, Macron still is its head of state, and the long-awaited visit is part of what his office calls his “Tour de France” aimed at reaffirming “our proximity to overseas territories.”
— Beatrice Dupuy