Mr. Bean actor Rowan Atkinson is not dead. The 66-year-old was reported dead by a Twitter account on Monday, 22 November 2021, but it has been established to be a hoax.
Fans of the famous comic actor got on their knees to implore the heavens, asking that the news be false, after it circulated on Twitter through a page seemingly affiliated to Fox News, that he was dead. The said handle tweeted in the now-deleted tweet: “FOX BREAKING NEWS, Mr. Bean (Rowan Atkinson) died at 58 after [a] car accident.”
This devastating news sent the entire internet into panic mode. However, not long after, the news was found to be false and debunked. For one, Rowan Atkinson is 66 years old and not 58, as the tweet claimed. Secondly, the Fox News Twitter handle was fake and was in no way affiliated with the network.
Whether it be an overzealous news brand or a silly internet user intentionally stirring drama, death hoaxes have become a familiar thing in the media over the years.
Mr. Bean, who has been on the receiving end of it a couple of times, is not the first victim and certainly won’t be the last. In this article, we will look at some other celebrities who have been falsely reported dead.
1. Barrack Obama
As you can already suspect, these hoaxes know no boundaries and respect no one. Even the 44th POTUS had his share of it while in the White House. On 4 July 2011, Fox News’ Twitter account was hacked by a group called “The Script Kiddies,” and they posted that President Obama had been assassinated during an Iowa event. News of such gravity, reported by a name as heavy as FOX NEWS, concerning a person as important as the president of a country — the US no less — is a big deal. But of course, it could only have been the malicious handiwork of hackers.
Just as it was in Rowan’s case, Drake’s death hoax started on Twitter with the hashtag #RIPDrake trending on 14 November 2020. Fans of the Certified Love Boy went straight into a frenzy, but not for long. As it turned out, it was fake. The supposed L.A. Times headline link attached to the post, which read “Drake Canadian Songwriter And Rapper Dies At 34,” only redirects you to a video of British singer Rick Astley singing “Never Gonna Give You Up.” Beneath it reads: “You got Rickrolled in 2020.” That’s a little too costly a joke, but the internet doesn’t seem to care so much for decency anymore.
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3. Eddie Murphy
GOATED comedian and actor Eddie Murphy is another celebrity who has been a victim of death hoaxes more than once. The first time happened in 2012 when he was reported to have been in a snowboarding accident. The second time was a mere case of mistaken identity when his brother Charlie Murphy passed in 2017. Many internet users readily thought it was Eddie and passed on the news till it became widespread.
4. Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson
In a Facebook post that went viral in April of 2014, Dwayne Johnson was said to have died while filming a stunt on the set of Fast & Furious 7. The Rock, in turn, made a Facebook post of his own, debunking the rumors. “Rumors of my death are false – I’m still ‘Bringin’ It’ 24hrs a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year – including leap year!” he wrote. In a later tweet, Dwayne called out whoever it was who started the rumors, “I would love to meet the person who is starting rumors of my death — to show them how a dead foot feels up their _ss.”
5. Justin Bieber
According to these tactless rumors, Justin Bieber has died more times than anyone can count. He died in 2009 by taking his own life, and again in 2010. Later in 2010, Bieber died again both from a nightclub shooting and a drug overdose. In 2012, for unknown reasons, he died again, with #RIPJustinBieber trending on Twitter. It is a shock that the singer is still alive in 2021, after having died so many times. Safe to say, he has nine lives, and one wonders how many of it he has left.
6. Bob Dylan
MSNBC goofed in November 2020 when they reported that American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan died in 2019. The news turned out to be false, and one wonders where they got it from in the first place. Apologizing for the mix-up, a news anchor for the channel tweeted: “Sorry about that.” Whether that is a sufficient apology for an error of such magnitude is another debate entirely.
7. Rick Fox
Canadian-Bahamian former basketball player, actor, businessman, and former esports franchise owner Rick Fox was rumored dead under rather tricky circumstances in January 2020. The former teammate of late Basketball legend, Kobe Bryant was initially reported to have been among those aboard the helicopter in which Kobe, his daughter, and others died. That was not the case anyway, and Fox will later said in an interview, “my family went through, in the midst of all this, something that I couldn’t have imagined them experiencing.”
8. Nick Jonas
Twice in 2009, American singer, songwriter, and actor Nicholas Jerry Jonas was a victim of death hoaxes. One of the reports, which was at least more believable, said he died of cardiac arrest due to complications with his diabetes. The other wasn’t so sensible, alleging that Nick’s heart stopped after a lap dance in a Dallas strip club. It makes one wonder what perpetrators of such news aim to achieve with the egregious stories they make up.
9. Taylor Swift
In 2009, rumors of Taylor Swift’s death spread like wildfire. First, she was reportedly in a fatal car accident, and then, months later, she was rumored to have died from an allergic reaction to sleeping pills. The news circulated on Facebook and YouTube at the time. Seven years later, fresh news of her death surfaced, as a mural by an Australian artist which had her portrait with the words “In loving memory of Taylor Swift 1989-2016” became news item. Yet another unexplainable act to add to an already unexhaustive list.
10. Celine Dion
“The thing that worries me is my mum,” Celine Dion said in a November 2013 interview with Digital Spy, reacting to yet another death hoax. Apparently, the constant rumors about her death always get to her mother, and it is a job of work calming her nerves. “It makes me a little mad – she’s 86 years old, and if I’m not on the phone telling her I’m OK four seconds after it’s on the news…,” she lamented, adding that it is not so much about the rumor, but the damage it does to one’s family.
Why do you think death hoaxes like Rowan Atkinson and these other celebrities circulate?
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