Paul Walker's death and the rise of the meta-hoax?

Pop culture celebrity death hoaxes certainly have a long history (for instance, shortly after Franklin D. Roosevelt's death in 1945, false reports of the deaths of Charlie Chaplin and Frank Sinatra also arose).

But the latest devolution of this media phenomenon manifested when an alleged death hoax arose one day before Fast and Furious star Paul Walker died on November 30.

So here's the real story: Walker, 40 years old, and his friend Roger Rodas, 38, died in a car accident in Santa Clarita, California, while attending a charity event for his organization Reach Out Worldwide. (Walker formed the organization in 2010 to mobilize aid to major natural disasters around the world. The latest effort was devoted to helping Typhoon Haiyan victims in the Philippines.)

In what appeared to be a cruel coincidence, several reports arose that a death hoax about Walker circulated the day before his death.

But wait, the plot hoax thickens—Just Jared and The Hollywood Life claimed there was a twist to the twist: these sites claim the death hoax itself apparently never happened and that reports of the hoax...were a hoax. Is this the rise of the metahoax?

Confused? Exactly.

Numerous reports are pointing their fingers at the Mediamass Project, a website dedicated to critiquing mass media through satire, which describes themselves thusly:

The website mediamass.net is the medium of our satire to expose with humour, exaggeration and ridicule the contemporary mass production and mass consumption that we observe

Also it will not only mock the procuders [sic] (mainstream media, journalists) as it is common when questioning and criticizing mass media, but also the consumers as one cannot exist without the other. Sensationalism, lack of verification of information, ethics and standards issues are only symptoms of the actual social and economic order. This is particularly obvious when observing the role of social networking sites in spreading rumours.

Whatever the case, Walker's tragic death was confirmed by a post on his Facebook page by his representatives.  

In other news about hoaxes related to Walker, the International Business Times is reporting a death photo of a man who looks like Walker, with "RIP Paul Walker" messages, surfaced on Twitter.

According to the IBT report, the photo cannot be of Walker because the L.A. County Coroner's office stated that Walker and Rodas had to be identified with dental records due to being burned beyond recognition.

IBT is also reporting that a Facebook account supposedly belonging to Walker's 15-year-old daughter Meadow Walker was also fake. Walker's reps contacted the social networking site to have the account removed.

Comments (21) Add New Comment
Bela Bugliosi
Burned beyond recognition eh? How long before Walker ends up in Kalamazoo flipping burgers on the greasy grille beside 800 lb FBI snitch Elvis Presley? Were Walker's movies so awful they had to relocate him before all his fans finally figured out he'd been playing them for brainless twaats all along or is this just standard operating procedure in lala land?
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Blah
For the life of me, I don't understand why everyone gets riled up when an actor dies. It's not like they ever gave a damn about your life. Just marketing I suppose.
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Kelly harbor
Ok first Paul Walker was an excellent actor! And he was probably one of the nicest guys in show business. Paul lost his life Saturday in a very tragic car accident. No matter if he was famous or not. He was a father, a son, a brother, and a friend! And he was very involved in helping others around the world, with his donations and raising money thru Reach Out World Wide. With was an organization that he founded. So before you start making remarks and jokes about this tradagy, you may want to look in the mirror and ask what have you done for someone lately, Paul was so young, so good looking and gone too soon! God bless his friends and family. For they will need prayers for years to come
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JMJ
We really lost a star.
He was young and was one of the best American actors. He was one of those actors who dont have legal, health or other issues. We truly loved him. We will always remember him..
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Angela
Yah and you people posting videos saying he's still alive do you bother to stop and think what that is doing to his family it's cruel and down right heartless let him rest in peace and let his family grieve in peace
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Ron Y
@Blah

And I don't understand why people would feel a need to take the time to condemn expressions of sympathy. It is a wacky world, Blah!

Speaking only for myself, I was pretty gobsmacked by Paul Walker's death.

And I did wonder why I felt like that. It's not that I knew the man, or that he owed me money. Why be grieved? Was it because he was a pretty actor? Surely I am too hipstery for that, yah?

Nonetheless I did feel something.

In thinking about it, probably it *is* because he was a pretty actor, i.e. embodied vigour, youthfulness, and a steady career in a very unstable biz.

These are not necessarily the most admirable qualities around - he was not a Medicines sans Frontiers doctor, y'know? - but associated in my mind with the concepts of carefree living and breezy entertainment.

I wouldn't have minded switching jobs with him, you know? Film critic, schmitick.

And then BOOM!!!! Dead.

So the news brings on a variety of morbid thoughts:
about the fragility of even trainer-honed Hollywood bodies; about the way God, if He exists, seems to have a rather dark ironic streak; about how our own accomplishments, if any, will some day be choked off, quite likely with major goals still unrealized.

If I was always reflecting upon mortality, I might not be a very functional person and probably even less pleasant to be around than I am.

But it's appropriate to have these thoughts when someone you know has passed away.

And I did know him - very slightly, sure, and through a flickering light.

It's enough reason to grieve for his life - all life.
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Sylvester Morse
Well first of all Paul was nice and handsome yet another superstar gone early rest in peace u will never be forgotten
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Some nobody, right?
Being in the military I've come to realize that if I was to die in combat I doubt very seriously I would get the same reaction. Just saying.. Guess I just can't feel bad for some celebrity dying in a car crash in a vehicle that's probably worth more than the amount my family would receive as compensation for my own death. Hooah?
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Ormy
Of course he isn't dead there is a video of him In An airport talking to the camera man saying that it is all fake, so stop your whining and move on the press do this all the time
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T
Death, in any situation is horrible for anyone that it effects. His family, his friends, his fans & Hollywood in general have lost what some call the "nicest, big hearted man I have ever worked with." His family doesn't need to see or hear negativity about him because he was an actor or lived a so called charmed life. Would you want to if he was your son, brother, father or friend? I would think not. Let us celebrate the life he lead, which seemed pretty normal considering his fame and say goodbye to a man whose child must feel lost. Rest in peace Paul and God bless you.
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Conspiracy
EXACTLY 60 seconds from crash to fireball ... Staged. All movies he has appeared in have just made their way to the trash.
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roxy
Ormy, are you stupid?!
Please if you really don't knoe the facts don't post. You are an ignorant person. You also just made youreself appear very dumb.

May Paul Walker and hiis friend Rodas rest in peace. My prayers go to his loved ones and friemds. May they find the closure they need wiyh Gods help.
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Aliya khan
Paul walker is dead. Stop all the trashy comments saying he's alive and well. R.I.P Paul. We love u. U will always be in our hearts.
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Impact
Well.. I read all the comments above, from people who thought its a hoax, to people who were fans and to the soldier who is right in his own way, but here is the real deal... Its not necessary to know anyone in person to feel bad for the loss. Even I had never thought that I would feel bad to the extent I actually have. Its just about the impact he had created in all of our lives. Frankly speaking I had never been a fan as such of Paul, but growing up watching FnF and the remaining movies, you do build a bond unknowingly. And now to know that the guy who was one of the two pillars who made the franchise what it is today won't be seen in future, to know that he is no longer there, hurts a lot. Ultimately, it is not about the movies or about him being a celebrity. Its about the presence that he created in our lives without us knowing.

R.I.P. Paul! You will always be missed.
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Jonathon
Ormy was playing a metahoax.

"he isn't dead - there is a video of him in an airport talking to the cameraman saying that it is all fake"
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458 Speciale
Walker is too young to die.

Life imitates art.
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Malaspina
My first reaction was ... thankfully an incident bystander was not killed.
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mike
I don't believe he's dead but if he is R.I.P Paul walkerwalker very good actor
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Turbowagon
If it's on his Facebook...it should be true!
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ms. g l roy
To anyone and everyone,with a negative frame of mind. Yes he was a celebrity. So what. He was a humanitarian. He did more, in a year, with his foundation Reach Out World Wide than most of you will do in a lifetime. It's not the star, the celebrity, the looks, the popularity ... it's the man himself. what have you done for the needy lately? Ya, that's what I thought. So be nice or shut up. Ignorance breeds ignorance. Go breed elsewhere.
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