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No evidence musician Kurt Cobain predicted Trump’s presidency

Did grunge rock singer Kurt Cobain predict US President Donald Trump’s rise to power? A meme on Facebook, being shared in South Africa, claims he did.

The meme was flagged to Africa Check as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook here.)

The text of the meme, laid over a photo of Cobain, is formatted to look like a quote by him from 1993. It says: “In the end I believe my generation will surprise everyone. We already know that both political parties are playing both sides from the middle and we’ll elect a true outsider when we fully mature. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s not a business tycoon who can’t be bought and who does what’s right for the people. Someone like Donald Trump as crazy as that sounds.”

Kurt Cobain was the frontman for alternative rock band Nirvana, before he died by suicide in 1994.

‘Grotesque perversion of Kurt’s beliefs’

In 2018 Danny Goldberg, a former manager of Nirvana, wrote an article disputing the claim that Cobain said these words.

Goldberg said not only did he not “know” that the quote was “made up” but that it would have gone against Kurt’s beliefs. 

Cobain often differentiated Nirvana from “more overtly political punk bands like Dead Kennedys and Fugazi”, Goldberg said, but otherwise Cobain was “unambiguous about where his political sentiments lay”.

No record of Cobain quote

Fact-checking organisation Politifact, in a 2019 article, noted out that the meme “includes no sourcing or information about where Cobain made the prediction (besides the year 1993) and there is no record of Cobain ever saying it”.

The article notes that the meme has also been debunked by several other media outlets.

In a 1992 interview with an Argentinian journalist, Sergio Marchi, Cobain was unequivocal about his opposition to the rich. – Taryn Willows


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