McDonald's Not Selling Satanic 'Baphomet Happy Meal,' It Is Just Another Viral AI Hoax

April 2nd, 2024 - 4:22 PM EDT by Aidan Walker

6 comments | Contact Newsroom

An AI-generated image of a Baphomet Happy Meal.

An image posted to X / Twitter late last week depicting what appears to be a Satanic version of the McDonald's Happy Meal sparked calls on social media to boycott the fast food chain, however, it turned out to be an AI-generated hoax.

The image was posted to X but picked up steam on TikTok and Instagram in recent days, where it turned into a viral phenomenon.

The original post was made last Wednesday on March 27th by @AmericaReal3 on X. It wasn't very widely viewed, but one or several of those viewers reposted it to other platforms, causing it to spread online.

As it garnered more attention, Snopes ran a fact check on the image, determining that it was AI-generated art. Helpfully, the original poster also clarified it was "just an AI joke."

On TikTok, however, posts about the Baphomet meal spread more widely.

Baphomet is, according to some, a demon. Historically, however, Baphomet worship appears to be something that French crusaders of the Knights Templar picked up in the Middle East and carried back to Europe with them.

The word "Baphomet," according to some historians of the Middle Ages, is a mishearing of "Mohammed," and the theology of Baphomet worship (to the extent that a record of it remains) seems to borrow a lot from gnosticism.

There is no evidence that McDonald's has anything to do with Baphomet, gnosticism or, for that matter, Satan. However, AI art certainly has a lot to do with conspiracy theories, and the use of AI-generated imagery to illustrate conspiracy posts on TikTok, X, Reddit and other platforms is now commonplace.

Whether AI itself is a tool of the devil, which some appear to genuinely believe, remains to be seen.

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