Right-wing Conspiracists Really Want To Believe Greta Thunberg Is An Actress.
For years now, the Right has been obsessed by the idea that a large percentage — perhaps even the majority — of people who claim to be liberals are in fact actors who are being paid by George Soros to pretend to be liberals. It's not that we actually care about anything we say we care about, or that we even disagree with the Right on anything, deep down. We are all just in it for all the sweet, sweet cash. If it were not for George Soros and all the checks he hands out, everyone would go around sounding like Rush Limbaugh all the time.
The latest person to be accused of this kind of treachery is 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg. For the last couple weeks, brain geniuses across the internet have been posting various forms of "proof" that Thunberg is not actually a teenager who really cares about the environment, but rather an actress who is being paid to pretend that she is a teenager who really cares about the environment. They are very excited about this theory, presumably because they think that would then mean that climate change isn't actually a problem.
This ridiculousness was "reported" this week by the conservative "news" outlet, DC Clothesline, and relentlessly repeated across social media, to the point where Snopes actually had to debunk it. The evidence they cite is the fact that Thunberg has an IMDB page... because she was in some documentaries about climate change and also narrated a short film, also about climate change. What the actual credits are do not matter, of course — what matters is that it says "actress" on the page.
Below is my actual favorite take on this whole thing, from r/The_Donald, and kind of the whole reason I decided to do this post in the first place.
YES. Her grandfather, improbably, is probably about the same age as George Soros. Sure! George Soros is not from Sweden, but he is from Hungary, and it's the same continent. Who is to say they didn't run into each other at some point? Surely, it is totally possible that they met one time and then concocted a plan to turn his granddaughter into a pretend climate change activist in order to make people feel bad about fucking up the environment and ruining EVERYTHING for Reddit poster "BonafideTarzan."
Another theory put forward on social media is that Thunberg is in fact a child actress from Australia named Estella Renee.
A particularly hilarious Facebook post, via Snopes:
Aspiring Actress impersonates crying child climate activist at UN, impersonator is a sham. Screams "How dare you!" from acting class.
Estella Renee is a very talented shakespearian actress from Australia. She can do Scandinavian accents. She can break down and cry. She can scream "How dare you!". She deserves an Academy Award not a Nobel for impersonating Heidi looking Greta Thunberg, a fictional Character before the UN yesterday, a fake climate activist, a child actor age 15 and 1/2 screaming "How dare you!" straight out of " Streetcar named Desire! ".
Otherwise, she's a sham and a fraud! Her publicist refused to respond to our calls, but NY customs identified her as Estrella Renee, here "to see the sights" at her entry from Australia. Her adult accompaniment signed her into her hotel room as Greta Thungren, but we confirmed she is Estelle Renee. We turned over her illegal false identity to DHS who has confirmed her dual identity, but is still investigating. They are not sure impersonation is a crime.
Yet, what a fraud!!
The best though, I think, is the lady who actually linked the damn Snopes article, while wanting to know who paid her.
Does it get stupider? It sure does! Because the whole reason these people started claiming that Thunberg was actually "Estella Renee" is because they got their wires crossed with another conspiracy theory about another teenage climate activist. Estella Brasier, you may recall, is the young Australian girl from the climate strike last week who went viral after speaking to the news.
After Brasier's interview went viral, some jerks found out that she did some acting and even had a profile up on some kind of Australian casting site from when she was 12 (she is currently 14), and decided that this "proved" that she was a "crisis actor." You know, because once you do any acting, you are never allowed to do any activism in your life, unless it is to be a crisis actor.
Hoax-busting site Lead Stories contacted Brasier's father, who was happy to clarify things:
The events of that day are in the public domain and were on every TV station. The ideas and concerns expressed by Estella depicted in that video are entirely genuine, not paid for, she was not acting.
Estella is 14 years old. She attends the local creative and performing arts high school, she sings and acts. She is a passionate climate activist and has been one ever since she found out about climate change. Students tend to get worked up and excitable in demonstration/rally situations. She runs an environment group in her school of 1,300 students.
Thousands of her school friends are striking and they need no encouragement from adults to do so. It had hit the headlines in Australia because that rally was held in the Prime Minister's electorate before the election.
Estella was not expecting to be interviewed by the media that day: it could have been her, it could have been anyone else. She was just standing closest to the cameras.
It is possible to be both worried about climate-change and a child actress at the same time.
You guys should know that I, too, attended a performing arts high school, while also doing a whole bunch of activism. Coming out with it right now in case it comes back to bite me in the ass later!
People often say, when it comes to belief, "eh, whatever gets you through the day" — but if needing to believe that legions of children are being paid to pretend they think not destroying the planet is a good idea is what gets someone through the day, I think they should really just sit down with themselves and reconsider literally everything in their life that lead them to this point.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Previously, she was a Senior Staff Writer at Death & Taxes, and Assistant Editor at The Frisky (RIP). Currently, she writes for Wonkette, Friendly Atheist, Quartz and other sites. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse