Since the last week of November, several social media accounts have been posting two images of a caucasian man. In one of the images, he appears to be crying. The photos have been shared with the claim that the man is John Ford, “the richest man in America” who converted to Islam.
Several users posted this on high network pro-Islam Facebook pages or groups such Mufti Menk’s Lectures [about 9 lakh followers], Spiritual journey to Islam [about 2 lakh followers]; and Psps Media [20K followers]. Over 200 accounts posted this image. [view spreadsheet]
Facebook user Mohammed Saad Saifi’s post gained over 5,000 shares. He wrote the viral claim in the Hindi language. (अमेरिका के सबसे अमीर आदमी जॉन फोर्ड के पास 190 अमेरिकी चैनल हैं. आज इस ने ईसाई धर्म छोड़कर. इस्लाम धर्म अपना लिया.)
Former Nangarhar Province Afghan Governor Ziaulhaq Amarkhil also posted this claim.
جان دامریکا له بډایه او شتمنو کسانو څخه دی ، نوموړی د 19 امریکایي تلویزیونونو شبکو مالک دی، د شهادت کلمي په ويلو سره مسلمان شو او داسلام په مبارک دین مشرف شو
دشهادت کلمي په ويلو سره سړی په ژړا شو۔
د نړۍ ټولو مسلمانانو ته دې مبارک وي!
ووایی # الله_کبر ☝️ pic.twitter.com/TWukeULjdv
— Governor Ziaulhaq Amarkhil (@GovernorAmarkhi) March 28, 2020
After conducting multiple reverse image searches, Alt News found that the viral images are a screenshot of a 2018 video. As per Khaleej Times, the video allegedly shows a man from the US who converted to Islam. The report states that the video was widely shared on Instagram but does not identify the man.
We performed a keyword search to find about “John Ford”. As per US-based news outlet Variety, John Ford stepped down as general manager of NPACT in 2019. NPACT is a trade organization serving producers of nonfiction entertainment content. The organisation has 100+ member companies.
Alt News looked at Ford’s portfolio on a website called ReelScreen and it lists the various media organisations he has worked for. The excerpt reads, “Ford served as president and GM of Discovery Channel from 2007 through the end of 2009, and also served as president and general manager of Discovery’s Military Channel and Discovery Times Channel, whose conversion to Investigation Discovery (ID) he initiated. He also was EVP, Programming and Production for the National Geographic Channel from 2003-07 and, prior to that, worked at Discovery Communications for 13 years, re-launching and heading TLC, launching Discovery Health Channel, and heading all content for Discovery Networks US.”
However, the man in the viral video and Ford are two different persons. The image comparison below establishes the same. Alt News couldn’t identify the man in the viral video.
The claim that John Ford is the richest man is also false. Below is the video ‘The 10 Richest People In America From 2010-2021’ by Forbes that doesn’t list his name.
To sum it up, a video of the religious conversion of an alleged US man to Islam has been shared with the false claim that he is “John Ford who owns 190 channels in the USA”. This claim was earlier fact-checked by FactCresendo.