The Hoax Museum Blog
The Great Death Rumor Craze of 2009: An Analysis
Posted by The Curator on Wed Jul 01, 2009
The glut of celebrity death hoaxes during the past week has been a textbook case of how rumors spread. It's a great example of collective behavior in action. As such, the death rumors provide an opportunity for journalists to discuss some of the things scholars have learned about the spread of rumors during the past fifty years of research. Unfortunately, the insights of social psychologists don't seem to be getting much coverage. Instead, journalists are focusing on the rumors as an internet phenomenon. See this CNN article as an example. It warns us that: The situation is calling attention…
Is one of the Michael Jackson rehearsal photos faked?
Posted by The Curator on Wed Jul 01, 2009
Holymoly.com suggests that one of the rehearsal photographs of Michael Jackson, said to have been taken the night before he died, is fake. They point out that "the backdrop mysteriously disappears in between Michael's legs." They describe this as a "classic photoshop blunder" and suggest "this could be a fake composite, with Jackson's image being super imposed on top of another pic." It does look unusual, but I wouldn't be so quick to label it as photoshopped. That may just be how the backdrop looks in that area. (You would need to see an unobstructed view of the entire backdrop to be sure.) And what would be the point of photoshopping the picture? Is holymoly.com…
More Celebrity Death Hoaxes
Posted by The Curator on Mon Jun 29, 2009
It's been the week of the celebrity death hoax, triggered by the real-life deaths of a string of celebrities (Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, Michael Jackson, and Billy Mays). The recent celebrity death hoaxes have included: Jeff Goldblum, Harrison Ford, Louie Anderson, Ellen DeGeneres, Britney Spears, and Miley Cyrus. In the case of Jeff Goldblum and Louie Anderson, the fake deaths were simply old rumors that were recycled. But in the case of Britney Spears, Ellen DeGeneres, and Miley Cyrus, pranksters hacked into their twitter accounts to post false death announcements.
Jeff Goldblum isn’t dead, nor is Harrison Ford
Posted by The Curator on Fri Jun 26, 2009
In the wake of the news of the death of Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett, a rumor that Jeff Goldblum had also died began to circulate. Reportedly he died when he fell off a cliff while filming a movie in New Zealand. Then a rumor surfaced that Harrison Ford had died on board a yacht cruising off the coast of St. Tropez. Both Ford and Goldblum are still alive. In fact, the Goldblum rumor was simply a rehash of a three-year-old rumor that originally involved Tom Hanks falling off a cliff, and later Tom Cruise. Maegan has posted more details in the forum. Some links:…
Michael Jackson Dies… For Real
Posted by The Curator on Thu Jun 25, 2009
It appears that Michael Jackson has died, which is only worth mentioning here because in addition to being the "King of Pop," he was also the King of the fake death rumor. Even The Onion satirically predicted his death back in 2005. But this time, it seems to be for real. Now the "he faked his death" rumors can start.
Does Robert Pattinson paint on his abs?
Posted by The Curator on Wed Jun 24, 2009
Here's a question the world needs answered: Did Robert Pattinson (star of Twilight) have makeup artists use liquid body paint to make it appear as if he had six-pack abs for a scene in the forthcoming New Moon? Well, that's the rumor. Given that it was for a scene in a movie, I think it would be more surprising if makeup wasn't used. But for chiselled abs it's actually more important to be really skinny than to workout a lot. And the guy looks like he's genuinely skinny.
The Next Mr. Rogers?
Posted by The Curator on Fri Jun 05, 2009
18-year-old Michael Kinsell has a dream of being the next Mr. Rogers. Last year he started telling people at his school that he was filming a show called Michael's Enchanted Neighborhood, and that it was going to be aired on PBS. The show was modeled closely on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. From pointweekly.com: Each show will begin much as Mr. Rogers' did, with Kinsell singing a song, "It's a Lovely Day Today to Play," as he puts on a sweater and sneakers. Then a "neighbor," such as an artist or plumber, will drop…
Saudis Censor Katy Perry
Posted by The Curator on Fri Apr 17, 2009
Blogger Susie Of Arabia reports that after buying a copy of Katy Perry's album One of the Boys in Saudi Arabia, she realized that all the pictures of Katy Perry had been heavily doctored by Saudi censors. Below (left) is the original album cover, and on the right is the Saudi version. This is standard practice in Saudi Arabia. A few years ago I posted about Mariah Carey album covers that were similarly doctored by the Saudis. Susie suggests that the Katy Perry albums were individually doctored by hand, by censors armed…
Lil’ Kim for Mayor
Posted by The Curator on Mon Apr 13, 2009
Someone circulated a bogus press release claiming that rap star Lil' Kim was running for mayor of Hoboken. Local media in New York duly reported it as fact. But in a world where Ronald Reagan became president and Arnold Schwarzenegger is Governor of California, I can understand why they took it seriously. [NY Daily News]
Posted by The Curator on Fri Mar 13, 2009
This brings back memories of Hufu (Human-Flavored Tofu). After coming into possession of some of George Clooney's sweat, which had soaked a gym towel he used, PETA president Ingrid Newkirk wrote to the movie actor to ask him if they could use his sweat to produce Clooney-Flavored Tofu (CloFu). She suggested it would be a way of encouraging people to eat more tofu. Clooney replied, "As a mammal, I'm offended." I'm a bit confused whether the tofu would taste like Clooney's sweat, or would it taste like Clooney's actual flesh? Either way, it sounds unappetizing. (Thanks, Big Gary!)
Megan Fox to play Wonder Woman?
Posted by The Curator on Thu Nov 06, 2008
The site wonder-who.com claims to reveal that Megan Fox will be starring in a new Wonder Woman movie. The site looks professionally made. Someone obviously put some effort into it. But according to JoBlo.com, Warner Brothers has issued a denial, insisting that no such movie is planned. So why did someone spend so much time creating the site? I have no idea. A really over-eager Megan Fox fan perhaps? Or maybe a studio was testing the response to the concept? Links: pfunn.com, io9.com.
Britney Spears to play a killer lesbian stripper?
Posted by The Curator on Wed Aug 06, 2008
Back in January 2008 Variety published a rumor, citing unnamed sources, that Britney Spears had agreed to play a killer lesbian stripper in Quentin Tarantino's next movie, a remake of Russ Meyer's 1965 film Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!. Seven months later, there's no indication this rumor is true. For instance, there's no listing of such a project on IMDB. Nevertheless, the rumor is circulating again. It was reported recently in The Telegraph and on popcrunch. It appears that the January rumor is simply being reported again, with no attempt to check the facts. Taken together with the recent rumor that Spears was to star…
The Knoxville Carjacking Party
Posted by The Curator on Tue Aug 05, 2008
According to internet rumor, Britney Spears is planning to star in a movie titled The Knoxville Carjacking Party, based on the brutal 2007 murder of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom. Spears would play Channon Christian. The story is a hoax. More specifically, it's a case of satire mistaken as news, having apparently originated as a faux news report from "celebrity snitch, Clarence Star" on the site Ghetto Bragging Rights. Wayne Bledsoe, a columnist for Knoxnews.com, notes that the spread of the false rumor offers a case study in how misinformation is propagated by the online media. Numerous celebrity gossip sites, such as popcrunch.com, reported the false rumor as…
Posted by The Curator on Fri Jun 20, 2008
Kate Beckinsale goes by "Sigourney Beaver." Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston, when together, were "Mr and Mrs Ross Vegas." And Johnny Depp uses "Mr. Stench." These are some of the check-in pseudonyms that Hollywood stars use to remain anonymous when registering at hotels. The only time I ever use a pseudonym is when asked to fill in info for things like online surveys or grocery store cards. Then I'm always "Eric Blair." But I'm thinking of switching to Hugo N. Frye.
Ben Affleck’s Big Head
Posted by The Curator on Tue Jun 17, 2008
This photo of Ben Affleck is doing the rounds on celebrity gossip blogs. People are wondering if it's real or photoshopped. It is an odd picture, but I'm almost certain it's real. Affleck just happens to be posed at a strange angle, and the small size of the kids around him make his head appear unnaturally large. The picture comes from an event Affleck attended in Calgary on June 14 to support the oneXone charity. Wireimage.com has a gallery of photos of Affleck at this event. There are plenty of shots of him posing with these kids (including the shot above).