Madison Cawthorn speaking in front of Americna flag (l) Kevin McCarthy in front of American flag with microphone (r)

HorizonUI/Shutterstock @CawthornforNC/Twitter (Licensed)

Fake screenshot claims Madison Cawthorn accused Kevin McCarthy of doing cocaine and hitting on young staffers

The doctored tweet isn't true.


Claire Goforth


Posted on Jan 12, 2023

A fake tweet making the rounds shows one-term representative Madison Cawthorn supposedly accusing House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) of doing drugs, engaging in group sex, and hitting on young employees.

The screenshot shows Cawthorn supposedly posting last spring, “The reason @GOPLeader Kevin McCarthy is so upset about me saying a bunch of my Republican colleagues are doing drugs and going to orgies is because he’s one of the biggest offenders. I have personally seen him doing cocaine and hitting on 22-year-old staffers.”

In Body Image

The tweet is clearly photoshopped.

While Cawthorn did go on a podcast at the time and accuse his fellow Republicans of doing cocaine and going to orgies, he didn’t name anyone in particular. And he never tweeted this about McCarthy.

If Cawthorn had claimed McCarthy does cocaine and has group sex, it would’ve made headlines nationwide. Yet there isn’t any reporting from that time period up to the present day about Cawthorn alleging that the then-Minority Leader did drugs, went to orgies, and behaved inappropriately with young staffers. The screenshot also seems to have only started making the rounds in the last week. The earliest the Daily Dot found it posted was on Jan. 5.

The tweet isn’t included in ProPublica’s catalogue of Cawthorn’s deleted tweets. It also isn’t on either of Cawthorn’s Twitter accounts or in archives of his tweets from March 30, 2022, the date on the screenshot, stored on the Wayback Machine.

It also appears that the screenshot comes from the same source, as all the versions the Daily Dot found are in dark mode and cut off the bottom where it would show the number of interactions.

In spite of these red flags indicating that the tweet is fake, the screenshot and its contents have been making the rounds in the last week, particularly in right-wing circles. The Daily Dot found it on Twitter, Gettr, and Truth Social.

In Body Image
Jasmine Star/Gettr

Many allege that Cawthorn’s fictitious allegations against McCarthy are the reason why Republicans purportedly supported the primary challenge that led Rep. Chuck Edwards (R-N.C.) to oust Cawthorn from the seat. If Republicans did support his opponent, it could also have had something to do with Cawthorn’s lies, scandals, and what a local publication described as his “dereliction of duty.”

On Jan. 5, a Twitter user claimed, “This is why they took Madison Cawthorn out.” This tweet has hundreds of retweets and likes.

“I’m old enough to remember when Rep Madison Cawthorn told on McCarthy about how he attends drug/sex parties in D.C.—then the swamp went after him & rigged his race so [he’d] lose,” a Truth Social user wrote earlier this week.

Some commenters have pointed out that the screenshot is an obvious fake—to limited effect. The salacious, false allegations about McCarthy, cocaine, and orgies are continuing to spread across the web.

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*First Published: Jan 12, 2023, 10:44 am CST