Fact Check: Does Photo Show Ariana Grande Kissing Osama bin Laden?

A photo purporting to show pop superstar Ariana Grande kissing 9/11 mastermind Osama Bin Laden, which has has gone viral on Twitter in the past, has been circulating on social media again.

The Thank U, Next singer, who was eight years old in September 2001, is pictured sitting in the lap of the former Al Qaeda leader.

But does the photo actually show the crossover nobody asked for? Did the mastermind behind one of the 21st century's worst atrocities cross paths with Pete Davidson's ex?

Osama bin Laden and Ariana Grande
An altered photo, purporting to show Ariana Grande kissing Osama bin Laden, went viral on social media in May 2022. Getty

The Claim

A photo posted on Twitter in May 2022 shows what appears to be Grande kissing bin Laden on the cheek while sat on his lap.

A number of users tweeted the photo with the caption "Is this real?"

The Facts

Despite the convincing presentation, the photo is in fact not real, but is an example of manipulated content.

It is a doctored image—originally taken in 2016 at the MTV Video Music Awards—of Grande with her former partner, the late rapper Mac Miller. It was taken more than five years after Bin Laden was killed by Navy SEALS.

Ariana Grande and Mac Miller
Rapper Mac Miller (L) and singer Ariana Grande attend the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards Republic Records After Party on August 28, 2016 in New York City. Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Bin Laden's face appears to have been cropped out from one of the existing archive pictures of the ex-Taliban leader, and superimposed on to Miller's body.

Osama Bin Laden Portrait Photo
The face of former Taliban leader Osama bin Laden, pictured here, appears to have been cropped from an archive photo and superimposed on the body of another man. Photo by Stephane Ruet/Sygma via Getty Images

For additional context, Grande would have recently had her eighth birthday at the time of the September 11 attacks in 2001 and was 17 when the al Qaeda leader was assassinated in Pakistan in May 2011.

At the time of Bin Laden's death, Grande had found some fame on the Nickelodeon TV show Victorious, but she had not become the pop superstar that she is today.

Crucially, had Grande known the location of America's former most-wanted terrorist, perhaps she might have shed some information in the nearly ten years it took the U.S. government to find him (least of all for the $25 million reward for information the FBI offered).

The doctored photo of Grande and Bin Laden has been in circulation for a number of years on social media, but went viral on Twitter in May 2022.

The Ruling

Fact Check - False

False.

The photo of Ariana Grande and Osama bin Laden is not real, it is edited from an image of Grande and her ex-partner Mac Miller.

FACT CHECK BY NEWSWEEK