GUZLI Peter Tourist Guy (2011)

The “tourist guy” was a hoax that featured a digitally altered photograph of a tourist on the observation deck of the World Trade Center, supposedly on the day of the September 11 attacks, showing a plane about to hit the tower in the background. The photo became an Internet phenomenon as many manipulated pictures spread online. The man in the photograph was identified as Hungarian Péter Guzli, who took the photo in 1997. Guzli said he edited the photo as a joke for his friends and did not realize it would spread across the Internet.

Shortly after 9/11, an image surfaced on the internet, purportedly from a camera found in the debris of the World Trade Center. The image showed a man, dressed in a wool cap, heavy jacket, and backpack, standing on the observation deck of the World Trade Center. Below him, a jet plane can be seen flying towards the building. Because of its closeness and low altitude, it seems certain to collide with the tower. The picture purported to be one taken mere moments before the attacks on the World Trade Center began.

The picture became a widely known example of an internet meme. As its fame spread, other people started to use the same tourist for other pictures. They included the tourist present at the sinking of the RMS Titanic, at the John F. Kennedy assassination, the destruction of Air France Flight 4590 and at the Hindenburg disaster. In one version, the aircraft has been replaced with a Melbourne tram. Other pictures show him present at disastrous events in movies, like the destruction of the White House in Independence Day, Godzilla demolishing Tokyo, or as the bus driver in Speed. There are also pictures of him together with people from other famous photoshopped pictures, such as Bert or a man holding a huge cat. There even appeared a picture of the Yalta conference where Stalin is replaced by the man with the cat, with the tourist and Bert on the background.