Will Smith died? Well at least according to the internet, who claimed he was killed this weekend.
The story appeared on FakeAWish.com and claimed that the former Fresh Prince star took a tumble for the worst from a New Zealand cliff. According to the Village Voice, the incident involved the Kauri Cliffs.
The report went viral and circulated Twitter. The report read:
“Actor Will Smith died while filming a movie in New Zealand early this morning – May 30, 2011. Preliminary reports from New Zealand Police officials indicate that the actor fell more than 60 feet to his death on the Kauri Cliffs while on-set. Specific details are not yet available. The accident occurred at approximately 4:30 a.m. (UTC/GMT +12).”
New Zealand was also the place an “alive” Tupac was reported this weekend. Earlier, PBS reported that the dead rapper, Tupac Shakur was spotted alive (He died in Las Vegas in 1996.) and well in a New Zealand resort. The claim would later become revealed as the work of hackers.
The title of the story was, “Tupac Still Alive In New Zealand,” and the phony story popped up on a PBS site “PBS NewsHour” which is produced by WETA-TV in Virginia. PBS later took down the story and confirmed that the website was hacked. The story read:
“Prominent rapper Tupac has been found alive and well in a small resort in New Zealand, locals report. The small town- unnamed due to security risks- allegedly housed Tupac and Biggie Smalls(another rapper) for several years. One local, David File, recently passed away, leaving evidence and reports of Tupac’s visit in a diary, which he requested be shipped to his family in the United States.”
This is the one instance where internet pranksters have given “life” to a dead celebrity. More popular, it seems, jokesters kill celebrities off, online at least. It has happened for almost as long as the internet was around. Will Smith’s son was even the victim of an internet killing.
Smith’s 12-year-old son, Jaden Smith, reportedly died in a snowboarding accident in Switzerland. Global Associated News reported, “Actor Jaden Smith is reported to have died shortly after a snowboard accident earlier today.” After that, Jackie Chan “died” on the internet. The blog Skiphopz put together a fake CNN article claiming that the actor died of a heart attack.