In today’s need for news as immediately as possible, the internet has become the tool to achieve this goal. However, in our need to obtain up-to-the-minute news going on worldwide, some like to have fun making fantasy seem like reality. One of the ways these internet pranksters have their fun is through celebrity death hoaxes. The latest victim is Brad Pitt and it was reported that the actor had had crashed into a tree and died while snowboarding in Zermatt, Switzerland.
Sadly, he is not the first, nor will be the last, of stars to suffer dying prematurely. Now 48, the Legends of the Fall star joins a long line of celebrities including Adam Sandler, Christian Slater and Charlie Sheen who have suffered the same hoax fate. While fans may be crying foul over being duped, those that read the original story have only themselves to blame. Apparently, there was a disclaimer at the bottom of the original story that reported Pitt’s death and though it said the story was false, the news spread and the internet was set buzzing Sunday about the actor’s demise.
In 2010, Charlie Sheen was reported to have met his untimely end the same way as Brad’s by dying after crashing into a tree while snowboarding. Last year, another victim was Christian Slayter, now 42, who was forced to let everyone know he was alive and hadn’t been killed in a freak snowboarding accident in Switzerland. His “death” had been one of the fastest trending topics on Twitter before it was debunked. Other stars that have been “killed off” are Eddie Murphy, Adam Sandler, and Aretha Franklin, comedy legend Bill Cosby, Miley Cirus, Lindsay Lohan, Justin Bieber, Britney Spears and Taylor Swift.
It appears that many of the fake deaths have been reported from the spoof news website Global Associated News. The site carries the ‘death’ of Tom Hanks whilst filming in New Zealand among their top stories. Interesting enough, they seem to love using the method of killing off an actor is death in a snowboarding accident at the Zermatt Ski Resort in Switzerland.
If you are curious about when these hoaxes were started, the earliest example of one of the first death hoaxes focused on former Beatles member Paul Mccartney. It originated at Drake University when students wrote a local school newspaper article claiming Paul was killed in a car accident and replaced by a look-a-like. Later, the conspiracy behind the story would eventually turn out to be fraudulent- leaving the believers of the story, fooled. Propagating a rumor about someone’ death eventually caught on and moved its’ way on to the internet.
Global Associated News’ creator, Rich Hoover, defended his website and claims it gives celebrities ‘free press’. He said that, “It is dark comedy, done in poor taste, I’m guilty of that but the intent is not to be hurtful to one’s character. I try to make it very easy to dispel the myth….The fans do get upset and get their feathers ruffled more than the celebrities.”
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