Fact Check: A George Washington Statue at GWU Was Allegedly Defaced by Pro-Palestinian Protesters. Here's the Evidence

Getty Images
Getty Images


Photos authentically show a statue of George Washington that was defaced during a pro-Palestinian protest at George Washington University.


Rating: True
Rating: True

In late April and early May 2024, several right-wing pundits opposed to campus protests against U.S. support for Israel's war in Gaza shared images and video, on X, of a statue of George Washington allegedly defaced by protesters at George Washington University (GWU) in Washington, D.C.:

This is an authentic photograph of the statue. On April 25, 2024, students at GWU took over University Yard, which is at the center of the campus and has as its centerpiece a statue of George Washington erected in 1932. At the time of this reporting, that encampment is still controlled by protesters.

Another video widely shared on X shows that same statue earlier on in the protest, on April 30, 2024:

The spray paint, stickers, kaffiyeh, and Palestinian flag added to the statue generally match what is seen in this May 1, 2024, Getty Images photo:

A kaffiyeh is a traditional Arab headscarf that has become a symbol of Palestinian resistance. The alteration of the statue with these objects has been well-documented. On May 1, 2024, U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., traveled to the GWU campus with other Republicans in a failed effort to remove the Palestinian flag from the statue.

Because these images authentically depict the statue's appearance during the time of this encampment, the claim is True.


"A Look at the Protests of the War in Gaza That Have Emerged at US Colleges." AP News, 24 Apr. 2024, https://apnews.com/article/gaza-war-campus-protests-966eb531279f8e4381883fc5d79d5466.

"GW Collection | Luther W. Brady Art Gallery | The George Washington University." Luther W. Brady Art Gallery, https://bradygallery.gwu.edu/gw-collection. Accessed 3 May 2024.

Haile, Nardos. "How the Keffiyeh Became a Palestinian Symbol of Resistance." Salon, 1 May 2024, https://www.salon.com/2024/05/01/keffiyeh-palestine-resistance/.

Slisco, Aila. "Lauren Boebert Tries to Remove Palestinian Flag from Statue at Protest." Newsweek, 1 May 2024, https://www.newsweek.com/lauren-boebert-tries-remove-palestinian-flag-statue-protest-1896342.

"Students Put Keffiyeh on the George Washington Monument in The..." Getty Images, 3 May 2024, https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/students-put-keffiyeh-on-the-george-washington-monument-in-news-photo/2150655442.

Turco, Rebecca, and Ida Domingo. "'Cops off This Campus Now' | Pro-Palestinian Protest Marches into 8th Day at GW University." WSET, 2 May 2024, https://wset.com/news/local/campus-protest-george-washington-university-palestine-encampment-tents-mpd-police-arrests-dc-students-gaza-israel-hamas-columbia-virginia-demonstrations-demands-activists-dmv-college-antisemitic-latest-gw.