Bill Cosby is not dead, but anyone trying to read up on the embattled actor on social media might have been fooled into thinking he committed suicide.
A viral death hoax has taken over online, with one viral story claiming that Bill Cosby committed suicide and several others falsely reporting his death. But Cosby is not dead, and in fact, the actor is preparing for sentencing and facing the possibility of spending decades behind bars after being convicted of drugging and sexually assaulting a woman.
In the days after the verdict, a fake story originated claiming that Bill Cosby committed suicide in the wake of the guilty verdict. The story, made to look like it came from a news site called Action News 3, claimed that Cosby was found dead in his Philadelphia home, the victim of an apparent suicide due to hanging.
The story even went so far as to include a fake quote from Cosby’s representatives.
“Bill Cosby passed away this morning,” the story quoted an unnamed rep. “He had been battling sexual assault accusations which left him in a state of depression. This is a tragic and sudden loss. The family respectfully asks for their privacy as they grieve during this very difficult time.”
The story gained quite a bit of traction online, with many sharing it and commenting their shock at the news.
Unlike many other celebrity death hoaxes, the one claiming that Bill Cosby was dead did not originate from one source alone. Many fake websites like the one claiming that Cosby committed suicide will push stories claiming celebrities have died, hoping to attract readers and make some ad revenue, but Cosby’s death hoax instead appears to be pushed by a number of unrelated people as well. Several falsely claimed that Cosby had committed suicide, and one shared a tweet making it look as if Sky News was reporting Cosby’s death.
Bill Cosby is no stranger to death hoaxes, with several other stories popping up over the course of the last few years claiming that he was dead. Cosby has been a popular target for all kinds of hoaxes, including a right-wing rant that spread online in the early 2010s falsely attributed to Cosby. The rant targeted Muslims, politicians, and even people with tattoos, and went viral as it made the rounds on Facebook. It even prompted Cosby to speak out, issuing a statement on his personal website clarifying that he was not behind the rant.