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Man with no heart needs surgery? No, photos of US actor Robert Downey Jr in Iron Man

A post going around Facebook in Nigeria, posted on 12 January 2019, shows four photos of a bloodied and unhappy-looking man with a complicated mechanical device seemingly implanted in his chest.

“He has no heart and is living with the help of this machine. But it's temporary. Doctors say he'll require Rs. 50,00,000 for the operation and a new heart!”, the post says.

“Facebook is paying 1 rupee for every share, so please show some support for this innocent human being. Show your humanity! #ShareForHumanity.”

But anyone familiar with the Marvel series of movies will probably recognise the man in the photos. He’s actually US actor Robert Downey Jr, preparing for his role in the 2008 film Iron Man.

Movie makeup artist posted photos on Instagram

The photos come from the Instagram account of professional makeup artist Jamie Kelman, we found when we uploaded them to Google image search. All four photos can be seen in two of Kelman’s Instagram posts.

In the first post, from 22 February 2018, Kelman explains that the photos are of “silicone appliance makeup applied on actor Robert Downey Jr for the 2008 movie Iron Man”.

The second post, published on 12 March 2018, has the other three photos used on Facebook. Kelman says he posted them in celebration of the 10-year anniversary of the movie. “I was the key makeup artist on their very first and imo still best Marvel Entertainment MCU movie, but I know I’m biased.”

He explains that the movie’s main character, Tony Stark (played by Downey), has the device wired in his chest to keep him alive.

‘Facebook is not paying for every share’

AFP Fact Check also debunked the Facebook post, in March 2019. It says Kelman had personally taken the pictures of the makeup he had applied to Downey to show a wounded Tony Stark.

The makeup used “synthetic silicone rubber for skin, prosthetic glue and paint, with a bit of fake blood”.

Africa Check contacted Facebook to find out if the social network was paying a rupee for every share of the post. (Disclosure: Facebook is one of Africa Check’s funding partners.)

Facebook communications manager Kezia Anim-Addo replied: “Firstly this main claim isn’t true and secondly Facebook is not paying for every share of the post.” – Africa Check (20/05/19)

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