Bill Murray trends for something he never even said

bill murray
CANNES, FRANCE - JULY 16: Bill Murray attends the "New Worlds: The Cradle Of Civilization" photocall during the 74th annual Cannes Film Festival on July 16, 2021 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

Actor Bill Murray is a very quotable person, but people on the internet are getting so gung-ho about posting his idioms, the actor began trending on Twitter Monday for a quote he never even said.

The offending quote in questions is, “So, if we lie to the government, it’s a felony. But if they lie to us, it’s politics.” It’s a sentiment shared by many, sure, but not one that’s ever been uttered by the legendary comic star.

According to Reuters, the Ghostbusters actor never actually said this.

bill murray ghostbusters

The confusion seems to stem from a now-suspended Bill Murray parody Twitter account whose description reads, “I AM NOT BILL MURRAY. This is a parody account. This account is not in any way affiliated with the actor Bill Murray.”

Despite their own declaration of being a parody account, the handle of the Twitter account was simply @BillMurray, so it’s no wonder the telephone game that is the internet Zeitgeist has altered our collective memory of the quote. The parody account usage of the quote, tweeted on Oct. 18, 2013, has been archived here.

According to Reuters, iterations of the quote have been circulating since 1987, with another early example being from 2010.

In addition, the quote was also used by a Twitter user in 2012. Unlike those previous examples of the quote’s origin, the tweet by Twitter user @mrbankssy was in the exact same wording as the quote that is frequently wrongly attributed to Murray.

In its article, the publication said they “found no evidence that Murray ever said this” and that a Google search of the quote and Murray’s name “brings up no credible sources.” The report went on to say they contacted a representative for Murray and are awaiting a response, but that could take a while seeing as he doesn’t have an agent or a cellphone.

About the author

Danny Peterson

Danny Peterson

Danny Peterson covers entertainment news for WGTC and has previously enjoyed writing about housing, homelessness, the coronavirus pandemic, historic 2020 Oregon wildfires, and racial justice protests. Originally from Juneau, Alaska, Danny received his Bachelor's degree in English Literature from the University of Alaska Southeast and a Master's in Multimedia Journalism from the University of Oregon. He has written for The Portland Observer, worked as a digital enterprise reporter at KOIN 6 News, and is the co-producer of the award-winning documentary 'Escape from Eagle Creek.'