It’s all fun and games until someone….become a victim of a death hoax… via social media.
According to Sycaruse, social media is indeed a powerful tool in dissemination information but also it could be a dangerous one.
With the use and abuse of social media, we can never be too sure on what to believe in especially when the news is about serious matters such as rumors, scandals and even deaths.
NY Times stated that “these celebrity hoaxes have become yet another pitfall of fame.”
On March 16, 2014, claims surfaced that Wayne Knight was killed in a semi-tractor-trailer crash,” which was reported on TMZToday and USMagazine.us, parody sites of legit entertainment sites build by pranksters.
Famous for his role as “Newman” in the hit TV sitcom “Seinfield” in the 90’s , Knight debunked the rumors via Twitter.
Some of you will be glad to hear this, others strangely disappointed, but….I am alive and well!
— Wayne Knight (@iWayneKnight) March 16, 2014
Chum Lee (Real Name: Austin Russell) of History Channel’s Pawn Stars was also rumored to have passed away and he also quipped about the claims on Ebbuzd, another fake website with a tweet.
May we live long, Rich forever.
— Austin Russell (@chumlee_) March 12, 2014
According to Hollywood Reporter, Other celebrities who have been targets of various fake websites includes 92 year-old Betty White and “Family Ties” actor Brian Bonsall, who were claimed to have died from” heart attack” and “apparent drug overdose.”
It isn’t the first time these hoaxes happened. They weren’t the only ones who became the targets of these jokes, which ranges from the weirdest and just simply mean.
Check out compilations of the top celebrity hoaxes and most memorable celebrity responses from Urban Legends.
Usher, R&B Singer
Cause of Death “Hoax”: According to Global Associated News (a fake news generator), the R&B singer died in a car crash.
Date: April 2012
After he heard about the hoax, he tweeted a shirtless photo of himself with a caption reading: “I must’ve died and went to heaven… Alive and cold kickin ass!!”
I must've died and went to heaven…Alive and cold kickin ass!! URIV http://t.co/Lj8zWn40
— Usher Raymond IV (@Usher) April 10, 2012
Russel Crowe, actor
Cause of Death “Hoax”: A fake news generated report stated that he died while making a film in Austria.
Date: June 2010
His response? The usually humorless Gladiator star joked and confirmed his death via Twitter.
“Unable to answer tweets fell off a mountain in Austria, all over red rover. Don’t know how i got there, but the media are never wrong. G’Bye.”
Unable to answer tweets fell off a mountain in Austria,all over red rover. Don't know how i got there, but the media are never wrong.G'Bye.
— Russell Crowe (@russellcrowe) June 10, 2010
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, former wrestler and actor
Date: May 2010
His response? The former wrester didn’t take the news well and sent a tweet. Apparently, he is not joking.
“I would love to meet the person who is starting rumors of my death — to show them how a dead foot feels up their ass.”
I would love to meet the person who is starting rumors of my death – to show them how a dead foot feels up their ass.
— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) May 4, 2011
BONUS: Manti Te’o’s nonexistent dead girlfriend
Hollywood Life provided the “Long Story Short” version about this:
“This is next-level hoaxing. It was revealed in Jan. 2013 that the former Notre Dame football star’s girlfriend didn’t die in Sept. 2012… because his girlfriend never even existed.”
On a serious note, Syracuse shared tips on how you can stop these rumors by posting resposibly online.:
First, check the original source and ask whether it is a reputable one. Is it a news organization, tabloid column or personal blog?
Then, specify in your shares whether the information is confirmed, rumored, alleged, and look for sources throughout the content. News stories cite their sources, whether it’s a person, organization or website.
Lastly, pay attention to the publication. Is it a trustworthy website, publication or social media account?
And that is it! Check out the latest and hottest news about movies, TV and entertainment, only here in Movie News Guide (MNG.)