People Claiming Bob Ross Was Actually Painting A Journey Through Pictures For All Those Years Are Lying

A feel-good viral video about meme culture deity Bob Ross has been circulating on social media in recent weeks, but if you come across it, don’t be fooled — it’s a hoax.

The video (which has racked up nearly 8 million views) claims that for all those years on The Joy of Painting With Bob Ross, the soft-spoken artist was actually crafting a journey and each painting seen in sequence would simulate a walk through the woods.

@vt Anyone else just think Bob Ross was painting pretty much the same scene over and over again? #bobross #artistsoftiktok #wholesomeplottwist ♬ original sound – VT

This is the sort of nostalgia-baiting easter egg content farms dream of, but it’s completely made up. The original video, as identified by Reddit detectives, is actually an AI art demonstration posted by YouTuber Miha Mastnak in September of last year.

In December, the clip was picked up on Twitter by the account @historyinmemes, which appears to be the first social media user to put forth the claim that the video proved Ross was “painting a journey.” The next day, the TikTok channel VT, a content mill producing staged videos intended to go viral, grabbed the video and parroted the false claim to its 2 million followers.

Since then, the hoax has been reposted numerous times on Twitter but was debunked by Boing Boing before the turn of the new year.

AI-generated artwork has been a controversial topic in recent months, as many creators are furious that many of its networks draw from real artwork created by actual people in order to make nearly passable pieces. However, one aspect of AI Art that has not been at the forefront of its discourse but may change after the spread of this hoax is that AI Art may make it very easy for people to go on the internet and tell lies.

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