Did a speaker gatecrash the 2024 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting?

By January 25, 2024 Satire, Society

We came across a post circulating on X with the claim that a speaker gatecrashed the 2024 World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting held in Davos, Switzerland. The post features a video showing a speaker insulting WEF members and their alleged plan to form a totalitarian world government.

Videos circulating on X

The X post, which has garnered 1.5 million views as of the time this fact-check was written, shows a video clip of a man, in front of a backdrop containing the WEF logo, speaking at a podium labelled “Annual Meeting 2024”, with the WEF logo.

The video begins with the man appearing to express his gratitude for being provided the opportunity to speak at the meeting but subsequently starts cursing Klaus Schwab, the founder of WEF.

Schwab, who is shown in the video clip sitting on the opposite end of the stage with Swiss President Viola Amherd then proceeds to stand up with Amherd and exits the stage. The video ends with a “connection lost” error message.

Upon further investigation, we came across a follow-up video uploaded by the same X user, which had amassed 4.5 million views at the time of this fact-check. The video features the same speaker who appears to start apologising for his remarks made the previous day (in the previous video) but avers that he wishes to apologise to no one, curses the WEF members, and claims that WEF’s climate agenda is fake.

2024 WEF Annual Meeting

The WEF holds a meeting annually to bring together world leaders and business executives to discuss key world issues.

The annual meeting this year was held in Davos from 15 to 19 January 2024. Topics covered in this year’s meeting included the Israel-Hamas war, security risks posed by AI, and ending fossil fuel usage.

Origins of the gatecrash video

A reverse image search of screenshots taken from the videos on X identifies the speaker in the video as Damon Imani, an Iranian influencer based in Denmark.

Imani has uploaded the same videos to his X account as well as his other social media accounts such as Instagram. He has also labelled his videos as a satire on his social media accounts.

The portions of Imani’s video containing Schwab and Amherd appear to have been taken from the video of the opening remarks given on 16 January 2024, at the 2024 WEF meeting. The original video, which can be found on the WEF’s website, shows Schwab and Amherd in the same clothes that they appear in, in Imani’s video and walking off the stage together at the end of the opening remarks.

Imani had edited the original footage to include his alleged gatecrash and make it appear as if he was present on stage during the opening remarks. However, Imani does not appear in the original footage nor was there a gatecrasher during the opening remarks. Since uploading the gatecrash video, Imani has also uploaded othersatirical videos of himself interrupting meetings and discussions held during the 2024 WEF meeting.

Hence, the video of a speaker gatecrashing the 2024 WEF Annual Meeting is satire and did not occur during the actual event.

While Imani has stated that his videos are satire, some social media users have shared his videos without any context which could be misleading and potentially spread misinformation. Hence, it is crucial to identify the source of any information that we come across online to prevent falling for or potentially spreading misinformation.

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