James Earl Jones is not dead, but it appears the death hoax that went viral this week may have pushed the actor to step up his social media presence.
Last week, reports spread across the internet that the Star Wars actor had died in his hometown of Arkabutla, Mississippi. The news came from the site FeedNewz, which is notorious for feeding fake stories to the internet.
Users who bothered to click the link saw a message that read “You Got Owned,” but many passed along the news without bothering to look. This led many to believe that James Earl Jones was actually dead, with many sharing messages of condolences on Twitter and Facebook.
While countless other celebrity death hoaxes have come and gone, it appears this latest one may one of the most widespread. News of Jones’ apparent death were shared thousands of times, prompting even major news outlets like CNN to report that he was, indeed, alive and well.
This has been a busy week for celebrity death hoaxes, in fact. Another popular report claimed that actor Arnold Schwarzenegger died of a heart attack.
Like the report on Jones, this one came from a fake news generating site, only this one is meant to trick viewers into believing it may be legitimate. The site is called MSMBC.co, which is very close to the real news site, MSNBC.
The report claimed (via Snopes) that the Terminator actor was found dead. As the text shows, it was riddled with typos and grammatical errors.
“Arnold Schwarzenegger was found dead at his Las Angeles [sic], California home. Schwarzenegger was 68 years old.
Police responded to the L.A. home after receiving a 911 emergency call for a ‘unresponsive male’. Upon entering the residence, police found Schwarzenegger’s deceased body in his bed.
‘We found Mr. Schwarzenegger in his bedroom deceased around 9:30 pm on Wednesday,’ said Las Angeles Police Chief James J. Freda [sic] in a brief statement to Local 4 CBS News [sic]. ‘We found no reason to believe foul play was a factor in his death but intent [sic] to perform a full investigation.’ “
While Arnold remained quiet on the matter, the other death hoax may have pushed James Earl Jones to action, as well. As CNN noted, the actor just joined Twitter for the first time, possibly in response to the rumors of his death. He has yet to tweet, however.
[Picture by Mike Coppola / Getty Images]