You may have noticed that the online world has been talking about Rowan Atkinson’s death recently, but there is no real reason to fear for Mr. Bean’s safety, as the Rowan Atkinson death story is one which has been circulating around the internet for quite some time now and is one which refuses to die. But what is the story behind Rowan Atkinson’s alleged death?
Over the weekend of March 18 and 19, some poor souls awoke to the news that Rowan Atkinson had died, having passed away in a fiery car crash. News of the death of the 62-year-old actor, known for his roles in Mr. Bean and Blackadder, shocked many people. Shocked them, that is, until they realized that Rowan Atkinson was actually the subject of a death hoax. The death hoax for Rowan Atkinson began after a malicious Twitter user posing with a fake Fox News account relayed the story of Atkinson’s death, upsetting many Mr. Bean and Blackadder fans.
“FOX BREAKING NEWS: Mr. Bean (Rowan Atkinson) died at 58 after car accident. – March 18, 2017.”
Shortly after the fraudulent Twitter account posted the alleged news of Rowan Atkinson’s death, the Evening Standard reported that the story was liked and shared over 300,000 times. Fans of Rowan may have noticed something was amiss in the death report, however, as whoever started the death hoax got Atkinson’s age wrong by four years.
Website Hoax Alert made it clear to all that Rowan Atkinson had not died and set everyone’s hearts and minds at ease. They explained how extraordinarily easy it can be to trick people into thinking that someone has died with just a little technological prowess.
“Celebrity death hoaxes are nothing new on the internet yet this one is special in that it managed to be liked/shared over 300,000 times in a short period of time by employing some devious technical tricks. The first one is the video player embedded in the site. At first sight this is just a normal YouTube video from a Fox News broadcast (which is about a death but not about Rowan Atkinson).”
— antonia Croatia (@Zaboky) March 21, 2017
Of course, this isn’t the first time that Rowan Atkinson has died in public. In 2016, it was proposed that he had committed suicide after suffering through unspeakably bad depression. The website that this erroneous information came from was called Linkbeef, although once again the death report got his age wrong. The Metro report that the website put Rowan Atkinson down as having been born in 1995, which would have made him just 21-years-old when he died in a suicidal bid.
Linkbeef were also apparently not too clever with their wording as they used the same death hoax that they had previously used for Adam Sandler, only changing minor details and replacing Sandler’s name with that of Rowan Atkinson.
“His publicist said he had been ‘battling severe depression’. In the past he had talked, and even joked, about his struggles with alcohol and drugs. Atkinson had recently returned to a rehabilitation center to ‘fine-tune’ his sobriety, the Los Angeles Times reported in September. The local Sheriff’s office said Atkinson was found unconscious and not breathing at his home near Tiburon, north of San Francisco.”
The alleged death report for Rowan Atkinson also claimed that he died from what the sheriff’s office believed was asphyxia. Rowan also “died” in 2012, and this time from a car crash, just like the one in March of this year, and Twitter mourned him then too.
While it is unclear why there have been so many death hoaxes surrounding Rowan Atkinson, fans can breathe a sigh of relief, safe in the knowledge that Rowan Atkinson continues to thrive and Mr. Bean is not dead.
[Featured Image by Lisa Maree Willis/Getty Images]