Fans were left fearing the worst yesterday — after being targeted by a widespread spam email which claimed Joaquin Phoenix was dead at 45.
The email purported to be from Fox News but had several spelling errors, including the actor’s name being spelled incorrectly in the headline and first sentence.
The hoax email, sent out with a photo of the actor and the Fox News logo, read: “Actor Joanquin [Sic] Phoenix was found unresponsive when a housekeeper found him in a Manhatten [Sic] apartment Thursday morning, the New York Police Department said.”
I’m glad Joaquin Phoenix isn’t dead. Got fooled by a fake email for a couple minutes there. pic.twitter.com/EvcXXsc1q2
— Drew Lee (@AndrewLeeTCNT) November 21, 2019
Luckily for fans the actor, who recently starred in box office hit movie Joker, is still alive and well, and a quick search of the actual Fox News website revealed there was no actual report of Joaquin Phoenix’s death.
Despite the inconsistencies in the email, the hoax story went viral with several people reporting that a radio station shared the fake news live on air.
“Listening to the radio at work and around 4:00, the DJ says ‘Tragic news just came down the wire. Joaquin Phoenix was found dead this morning by his housekeeper. Right now, it seems to be from natural causes,’ one Facebook user wrote.
Listening to the radio at work and around 4:00, the DJ says "Tragic news just came down the wire. Joaquin Phoenix was…
“Then he plays a song. I’m thinking, wow that’s terrible, just had a big hit with Joker. He comes back on after the song and says, “Well hold on, it may be a hoax.”
So the radio station 104.3 just reported that Joaquin Phoenix was found dead in his home in Manhattan today… huh?
— Jordan Conroy (@Jordan_Conroy9) November 21, 2019
Joaquin Phoenix has not responded to a request to comment on the death hoax; however, fans were quick to take to social media to share their experiences.
That #joaquinphoenix is dead email you're getting from "Fox News"? Pretty sure that's spam since that's not how you spell "Pheonix" or "Manhatten" and even @foxnews proofreading isn't THAT bad….right?
— Larry Morgan (@Larry_Morgan) November 21, 2019
I just got an email from Fox News saying that Joaquin Phoenix was dead. My first thought was, 'Well, it's not the craziest thing that was said on Fox News today.'
— Jeff St. Pierre (@StPierreOnAir) November 21, 2019
— John Illk (@JohnIllk) November 21, 2019
Most celebrity death hoaxes attempt to drive people to fake news websites to make money and often try to capitalize on writing stories about celebrities who are currently in the news.
Joker has become the highest-grossing R-rated film in history and Phoenix has generated Oscar buzz for his performance in the controversial movie. The elusive actor is not on social media and his representative had not released a statement on the death hoax at the time of writing.