An altered video showed Senator Ted Cruz munch on a fly and swallow it with a glass of water during an interview on Fox News, and “Toad Cruz” began trending on Twitter. But the video is fake, web sleuths determined.
Social media users were quick to share the video, with many people claiming it was real. The original, real video is nearly two years old. It aired on Fox News in June 2019 when Cruz paused to clear his throat and take a drink from a bottle of water during an interview on Hannity, according to Mediaite and other news outlets.
“The ‘Ted Cruz swallowed a fly on Fox News’ video is fake,” CNN reporter Daniel Dale wrote on Twitter.
“Classic Twitter,” he added.
Here’s what you need to know:
The Original, Fly-Free Video Was From a 2019 Interview With Sean Hannity
Mediaite found the original video, which was from 2019 and did not include a fly, the outlet reported. It was taken during an interview with Sean Hannity, which showed Cruz pausing to clear his throat and taking a drink of water. Twitter users compared the video to the fly that landed on then-Vice President Mike Pence during the vice presidential debate in 2020.
“But the big difference between Pence’s guest and Cruz’s snack is that the Pence fly was real. The Cruz fly was added to a June, 2019 clip of Cruz clearing a fist-sized frog in his throat before talking to Sean Hannity about the Democratic debate,” Mediaite reported.
Some Twitter users shared memes of Pence, making jokes about the fly being his pet.
“Mike Pence after learning that #ToadCruz ate his pet, Fly-an Gosling,” Linda Childers wrote on Twitter.
“BREAKING: The fly has made a second appearance and has been ingested by Ted Cruz,” another person wrote on Twitter. “I hope the spirit of RBG is okay.”
“Breaking: The fly has tested positive for #ToadCruz,” another person wrote on Twitter.
The rapid spread of the video emphasized how easy it is to circulate fake information on social media.
“Ted Cruz LITERALLY Ate a Fly on Live TV because Ted Cruz is #ToadCruz (BTW this is 100% real and it’s from Fox News last night- you can see the fly crawl into Cruz’s mouth)” one person wrote on Twitter.
Cruz Did Not Acknowledge the Fake Video on Twitter, Instead Posting About His Wedding Anniversary
Cruz strayed away from commenting on the video and the trending “Toad Cruz” term. Instead, he posted about his wedding anniversary on Twitter Thursday, May 27, 2021.
He shared a wedding photo, writing:
20 years ago today, I married my very best friend. Heidi is my soulmate, an incredible business professional, and a phenomenal Mom.
I promised her an amazing adventure—a magic carpet ride—and every day since has proven to be a wild ride. I adore you, my Angel.
I love you.
He added a video from Aladdin‘s “A Whole New World,” saying they played the song at their wedding 20 years ago.
“At our wedding, 20 years ago today, Heidi & I played A Whole New World from Aladdin, to reflect the magic carpet ride on which we were embarking,” he wrote. “My favorite line? “Don’t you dare close your eyes….'”