A 2015 video showing then U.S. Vice President Joe Biden recently started circulating on social media along with claims that he was inappropriately touching a young girl.
The now-President has faced accusations of such behavior around young girls numerous times over the course of his political career.
The young girl in the video is Maria Piacesi, the niece of Republican U.S. Sen. Steve Daines of Montana. While the video was from the 2015 swearing-in ceremony of the senator, it gained new prominence in July 2021 when right-leaning blogs published screenshots reportedly from the TikTok account of Piacesi, in which she appeared to confirm that Biden did indeed pinch her nipple.
Fact-checking website Snopes investigated the actual C-SPAN video footage and at around the 1:21:10 mark, Biden is seen with his hand on the girl's shoulder as they pose for a picture.
According to the website, in one moment she is seen shifting away from Biden's hand, which remains on her shoulder, and then his hand moves lower. It is unclear if Biden did anything to Piacesi but Snopes notes that the speculation may have stemmed from a few hand movements in the video.
Did Piacesi Admit to Biden Pinching Her?
However, screenshots purportedly from Piacesi's TikTok account claim the touching did take place. "Did Joe Biden pinch you?" A user by the name of Jonathan Pasetti asked, to which Piacesi responded, "Yes." However, soon after, she deleted her comment.
"Why did you delete the comment?" Pasetti asked. "I have friends that would no longer be friends with me if they knew that," Piacesi replied.
Maria Piacesi then sent the user a direct message via the TikTok app and said that she's wanted to speak out about her assault but that she fears that she won't be believed and will be seen as an outcast.
"I would do something about it â to be honest â if I thought it would help, but it would only make more people angry and I've already had people calling me out saying I'm lying and this is BS [bullsh*t], even though it is not. I just don't think it would help with anything right now," Piacesi said.
Snopes confirmed that the TikTok account did belong to her and was deleted after the screenshots went viral. Based on archived pages, the account appeared to have been active last in July 2021. However, the website was unable to confirm if the screenshots were real.