Fact Check: Italian Football Teams Did NOT Paint Faces In Solidarity With Dead Gaza Girl

Fact Check

  • by: Jamal Halaby
Fact Check: Italian Football Teams Did NOT Paint Faces In Solidarity With Dead Gaza Girl Fact Check: Italian Football Teams Did NOT Paint Faces In Solidarity With Dead Gaza Girl Domestic Abuse

Did Italian football players paint red marks on their faces in solidarity with Reem Nabhan, a 3-year-old Palestinian girl who was killed in a November 24, 2023, Israeli airstrike that flattened her Gaza home? No, that's not true: Players and coaches across Italy's Serie A-League men's football teams smeared red paint onto their faces to show support for a campaign to eliminate violence against women in Italy.

The claim appeared in a video (archived here) on TikTok on December 1, 2023. The caption (translated from Arabic to English by Lead Stories staff) read:

Italy's giants stand in solidarity with the Palestinian infant Roh al-roh

🫶🕊️ 🙏.

This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:

Italian Serie A.jpg

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Thu Dec 21 13:18:55 2023 UTC)

"Roh al-roh," Arabic for "soul of the soul," went viral on social media platforms in early December to empathize with Nabhan's grieving grandfather, Khaled. He repeated those words while cuddling Reem and weeping after her body was uncovered from the rubble along with her dead brother, Tarek, 5, according to Annahar, a leading Arabic newspaper published in Lebanon. It noted that Reem had a blood stain on her face. CNN reported that Reem and Tarek were killed "while they were sleeping in their bed" at home in Al Nuseirat refugee camp in southern Gaza.

The post uses video from a match between Italian giants Juventus and Inter Milan on November 26, 2023, with an image of a smiling Reem at the bottom of the frame, with the words "roh al-roh" and a weeping emoji.

A Google News search (archived here) using the words "Italian football teams with red marks on face" led to a story by the Associated Press, dated November 25, 2023, which confirmed that the red marks were part of an Italian campaign to condemn domestic abuse and violence against women. Similar accounts were published by the prominent sites Football Italia and Total Italian Football.

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  Jamal Halaby

Jamal Halaby is a fact-checker, who has been working with Lead Stories for nearly two years, helping bring the truth and factual information to the organization's global audience. With extensive background in investigative journalism and content writing and editing in Arabic and English, Jamal uses that experience to expose a burgeoning market of misinformation and disinformation. Previously, he worked as a writer for the Associated Press and several other reputable international news organizations. He has a passion for empirical analysis and discerning the veracity of the news.

Read more about or contact Jamal Halaby

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