Celebrity Death Hoaxes

Paris Hilton Killed (June 2007)

Several websites, disguised to look like credible news sources such as CNN, separately posted stories claiming that celebrity heiress Paris Hilton had died while in jail. One of these sites claimed that Hilton had been stabbed multiple times by another inmate who claimed that she was being "verbally assaulted" by the heiress. The assailant supposedly used "a shank made from grinded down metal ruler" to attack Hilton. These stories quickly went viral by email. Hilton was in jail, doing time in the Los Angeles Twin Towers Correctional Facility for violating her probation on an alcohol-related reckless driving charge. However, she was not dead, nor had she been attacked.

Jeremy Meeks (July 2014)

Jeremy Meeks (aka 'hot mugshot guy'), an inmate who gained fame online because of his attractive mugshot, was alleged to have died an hour after his release from jail. Police were said to have found him lying in the middle of a road in Central Stockton with knife and gunshot wounds, apparently inflicted by his wife with whom he had been arguing. In reality, Meeks had not been released from jail. The source of the story, which spread widely via social media, was a fake-news site, huzlers.com.

Sylvester Stallone (Aug 2014)

A fake news story that circulated on Facebook alleged that actor Sylvester Stallone died "in a horrible car accident" because "his driver was drunk did'nt saw truck". The post about his death led to a page that urged users to click a 'play' button to view video footage. The page (and story) were clickbait attempting to trick users into divulging personal information. The photo of a crashed car was totally unrelated to Stallone. It actually showed a scene from a 2013 accident in Beatrice, Nebraska that killed a 53-year-old man.