As protests in response to the death of George Floyd continue across the country, dozens of images are being circulated online. After hundreds of people took to the streets of Washington D.C. Sunday night, marking the third night of protests in the nation’s capital, an image of a large fire burning beside the Washington Monument quickly went viral, though it isn’t as legitimate as it may seem. As one social media user pointed out, the image is actually a still from the television series Designated Survivor.
Y'all, the picture of the giant fire next to the Washington monument is from Designated Survivor. Please stop reposting fake shit when there are more important things to worry about, like figuring out what happened to the protesters last night #dcblackout pic.twitter.com/R8FKEEL0rI— meep morp (@sininspira) June 1, 2020
The image was captured from the pilot episode, which aired on Sept. 21, 2016. In the episode, the blaze was started following an attack on the United States Capitol orchestrated by the True Believers during the State of the Union Address given by Robert Richmond. The Capitol Bombing became an iconic scene for the political thriller drama and sparked a series of events that would set off the rest of the show.
The fiery image was shared Sunday night alongside the "DC Blackout" hashtag, which alleged that there was a mass-scale internet disruption and that cell jammers were being used to prevent people in the area from sharing video and images from the protests and from placing calls. Just as the image of the fire near the Washington Monument was, the allegations were quickly dispelled, with several social media users saying that the hashtag was the result of bots. Reporters in the area took to social media to confirm that no outage had occurred.
Has Trump made America great again yet? pic.twitter.com/MQP4e7DFxF— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) June 1, 2020
Although the image of a large fire burning beside the iconic structure is nothing but fiction, several fires did break out in D.C. overnight. While most protesters remained peaceful, there have been reports of fires being set at multiple locations, including the historic St. John's Episcopal Church, the iconic "church of presidents," and the AFL-CIO Union federation headquarters. As a result, black smoke could be seen billowing up beside the Washington Monument in legitimate footage that was shared across various news outlets and soon made its way to social media.
The protests, which saw large crowds gathering outside the White House, even prompted Secret Service agents to rush President Donald Trump to a White House bunker Friday night. Sunday night, meanwhile, as fires raged in the streets, the floodlights that typically illuminate the White House at night went dark for an unspecified reason.