Fans worried about the fate of Screech can breathe easy; Dustin Diamond is still alive, despite a viral hoax spreading on social media claiming that he suffered a gruesome demise.
A viral screenshot of a news story has spread across Facebook and other social media this week claiming that the former Saved by the Bell actor was murdered in a prison riot. As Reuters noted, the story is meant to be satirical, despite many who have apparently been fooled into thinking that the actor was killed.
The fact-check pointed out that the article directed to a website called Ringsssss, which noted on its “About Us” page that it is a “satirical newspaper and comedy website” that uses a combination of fictional names in articles and stories about public figures meant to be satire. For good measure, Reuters added that no other major news outlet had written about Diamond’s alleged death.
The story did appear to borrow at least some details from the actor’s troubled life. As The Inquisitr reported, Diamond was sent to jail in early 2016 after a conviction the previous year for carrying a concealed weapon and disorderly conduct.
He joined a number of other former child actors who struggled with legal troubles after growing into adulthood. The Wrap reported that his conviction stemmed from a Christmas Day bar fight in which he was accused of stabbing a fellow patron during a dispute. As the report pointed out, Diamond claimed he was acting in defense of his girlfriend.
“He testified that rowdy fans punched his girlfriend in the face and he wanted to scare them with his pocketknife,” the report noted. “He used the weapon on 25-year-old Casey Smet, testified that he didn’t even know he had been stabbed until later in the evening, indicating the seriousness — or lack thereof — of the injury.”
Diamond is far from the first celebrity to face viral rumors about their death. A number of other websites have published false stories about deaths of others, including both Will Smith and his son, Jaden Smith. There have been several different reports claiming that either the father or son had died, all false.
Even though he may be alive, Diamond is still facing some personal difficulties. The Inquisitr reported earlier this year that he was on the verge of losing his Wisconsin home after reportedly owing more than $269,000 in missed payments to his mortgage company. The bank sought foreclosure on the home in court, documents obtained by TMZ showed.