Jared Leto, the actor and musician, has become the latest victim of an Internet death hoax, which said he died in a car crash.
The Global Associated News, a fake news site that specializes in false celebrity death rumors, recently churned out an article about the “Requiem for a Dream” star’s demise.
“(Local Team News 9) Jared Leto died in a single vehicle crash on Route 80 between Morristown and Roswell. He was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics responding to the vehicle accident and was identified by photo ID found on his body. Alcohol and drugs do not appear to have been a factor in this accident – November 26, 2013,” it reads.
Most, if not all, of the Global Associated News “reports” include car crashes leading to death. It also includes a small, grainy photo of an overturned car.
At the bottom of the Global Associated News website, there’s a disclaimer that states: “THIS STORY IS 100% FAKE! this is an entertainment website, and this is a totally fake article based on zero truth and is a complete work of fiction for entertainment purposes! this story was dynamically generated using a generic ‘template’ and is not factual.”
The website has generated rumors about Eddie Murphy, Aaron Rodgers, Celine Dion, and many others. The fake articles then end up on social media sites and later go viral.
The owner of the Global Associated News was identified as Rich Hoover by the New York Times in a report several years ago.
“I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t some twisted sense of satisfaction or accomplishment,” he said, adding that advertisements on the site generate revenue for him.
Mark Bell, an adjunct professor at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, elaborated on why the rumors spread.
“They get a thrill from it. There is a little hit of dopamine when you lie, especially a lie that is believed by somebody else,” he added.