The terms “RIP Sharkiesha” and “Prayforsharkeisha”–referring to a Houston-area girl named Sharkeisha, who punched and beat another girl in a video that went viral last month–was trending on Twitter Friday night, but it appears to be a hoax.
A fake photo posted by the “Queen Sharkeisha” account claiming to be the girl was taken from a New York Post article earlier this year about a 42-year-old woman named Karen Brim who was shackled to a hospital bed for 17 days in Brooklyn. The family of the girl claimed to be responsible for the Twitter updates about the shooting on Friday–including posting the photo of Brim.
It’s unclear if Sharkeisha was really shot, if the “Queen Sharkeisha” account was hacked, or if the whole thing is an elaborate ruse. The “Queen Sharkeisha” account is said to belong to the girl.
It’s been speculated that the death hoax trended on Twitter before Sharkeisha claimed she was shot twice and went along with it, posting the fake photo of Brim. The Twitter account of “Queen Sharkeisha” wrote: “2 shots, 12 stitches and still breathing. THANK YOU LORD,” adding: “We hope everyone is safe, Happy Holidays to everyone, please be safe. We love you,” it added later.
As of Saturday morning, there was no media coverage of the incident.
Rumors saying that she was shot and killed in a drive-by shooting were posted several hours before the “Queen Sharkeisha” account wrote that the girl was shot along with posting the photo of Brim, which was retweeted thousands of times.
More than an hour later, the account wrote to its 41,000 followers: “I am forever The Queen.”
The Twitter account also retweeted a number of messages saying she got shot, including at least one that indicated she was killed. “Sharkeisha got killed bruh? Gah damn the game [expletive] up RIP,” reads the tweet, which was retweeted by the “Queen Shaarkeisha” account.
Rumors of Drive-by Death from Comedy Site
The origin of the rumors saying Sharkeisha died appear to have come from a comedy website called Huzlers.com, and it doesn’t appear the least bit credible. “Word on the street Sharkeisha is dead… Tun tun tun…,” it said in a Facebook post. Huzlers describes itself as a website “for your daily laugh.”
On Twitter, a screenshot of an article claiming she was killed in a drive-by was widely shared, but it had a “Huzlers.com” watermark. The screenshots did not show the URL or the name of an actual media website–only text of the article saying she died in a drive-by shooting.
Huzlers did not include any information or photos posted by the “Queen Sharkeisha” Twitter account on its Facebook page or in the article screenshot.
Starting Friday evening, tens of thousands of Twitter users wrote “RIPSharkeisha,” and said that she was killed, while others wrote “Pray for Sharkeisha.”
Rumors and hoaxes can spread like wildfire on Twitter. For example, a hoax photo of Jennifer Aniston with a near-shaved head and an accompanying screenshot of a fake Instagram account claiming to be from her went viral on the social media website this week before they were debunked.
Last month, a video showing Sharkeisha punching and beating another teen named ShaMichael Manuel went viral, generating tens of millions of views on World Star Hip Hop and other video-sharing websites.