A photo supposedly showing U.S. President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, posing shirtless with Melania Trump, former President Donald Trump‘s wife, resurfaced in July 2022, shortly after users of the anonymous internet forum 4chan claimed to have hacked the younger Biden’s iCloud account. A least one tweet implied, falsely, that the image was part of this alleged hack.
The claim that Hunter Biden’s iCloud account was hacked in mid-July 2022, leaking images and other types of content supposedly involving him, remains unverified as of this writing.
That said, the above-displayed picture did not originate with that purported leak, nor did it depict an authentic moment between Melania Trump and Hunter Biden.Rather, it was a composite image (one created by combining at least two separate photographs) that has been online since at least 2020.
The photo of Biden originally appeared online after the hard drive of a laptop said to belong to the president’s son was leaked to the New York Post. In the original picture, Hunter stood shirtless by himself. The photograph of Melania Trump was taken in 2000 by photographer George Holz for FHM magazine, according to Getty Images’ database. Elements of these two photographs were cropped, flipped, and combined to create the doctored version that resurfaced in July 2022, amid the iCloud hacking rumors.
The original photo of Melania Trump showed her facing the camera over her left shoulder, while the composite image reversed that orientation. The above-pictured image (left) was a flipped version of the original photograph from the FHM shoot to better match the viral image.
“Hunter Biden Emails Show Leveraging Connections with His Father to Boost Burisma Pay.” New York Post, 14 Oct. 2020, https://nypost.com/2020/10/14/hunter-biden-emails-show-leveraging-connections-with-dad-to-boost-burisma-pay/.
“That Time Angelina Jolie Grabbed a Knife at a Photo Shoot.” New York Post, 2 Sept. 2015, https://nypost.com/2015/09/02/that-time-angelina-jolie-grabbed-a-knife-at-a-photo-shoot/.
Covucci, David. “4chan Explodes after User Allegedly Cracks Hunter Biden’s ICloud.” The Daily Dot, 11 July 2022, https://www.dailydot.com/debug/hunter-biden-icloud/.