Did Katy Perry go viral for her outfit at the 2024 Met Gala?

We came across the following posts on the social media platform X:

The images claim to show Katy Perry at the 2024 Met Gala, an annual fundraising gala held on 6 May for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute in Manhattan. The posts depicted Perry on the steps of the Met Gala in two separate dresses, both of which were intricately designed.

Variants of these posts had accrued millions of views on the platform. However, upon a closer look, the two depictions of Perry were different in multiple ways, including in the pop singer’s physical appearance, hair length and styling, and the design of the carpet and decorations in the background of the photo.

A quick web search revealed that Perry had reposted one of the images on her personal Instagram page. However, in the caption on the post, Perry revealed that she was, in fact, unable to attend the Met Gala due to work commitments.

The post included additional photos and videos, including one of a fan awaiting her at the Met Gala, and one where she appears to be singing in a studio. Crucially, the second picture in the carousel appears to show a text exchange with her mother praising her appearance and outfit at the event. In response, Perry suggests that her mother had been duped, as the picture was created with artificial intelligence (AI).

By the next day, several news outlets were reporting that the images of Perry were fake, including The Independent, NPR and AP News. The images of Perry may have been convincing due to the singer’s history of wearing outlandish outfits to the gala previously, such as dressing up as a cheeseburger and as a chandelier on separate occasions in 2019.

Further searches on X using ‘met gala’ as a keyword phrase quickly revealed that Perry was far from the only celebrity whose appearance at the gala had been simulated by AI.

For example, we found images of Rihanna and Billie Eilish at the gala, though the two singers were confirmed to be missing the event due to illness and work commitments, respectively.

As such, it is false that Katy Perry or these other artistes attended the Met Gala and had their fantastical outfits go viral. With the rising availability of AI tools and the prominence of outlandish designs in fashion, it is likely that more instances of fake photos of celebrities at events will emerge in the future.

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