Internet 'Kills' Australian Singer Gotye
Singer Wouter de Backer, aka Gotye, attends the Australasian Performing Right Association awards ceremony in Sydney, May 28, 2012.
CREDIT: Eva Rinaldi/Creative Commons
Question: What do Lady Gaga, Adam Ant, Charlie Sheen, Fidel Castro, Eminem and Vanilla Ice have in common?
Yesterday (July 1), Belgian-Australian singer Gotye, of "Somebody That I Used to Know" fame, joined their illustrious company.
A jokester calling himself "MJTheDestroy" uploaded a phony news story to CNN's iReport website reading "Gotye Dead at The Age of 32," reporting that the singer, born Wouter de Backer, had committed suicide by shooting himself in the head.
"He was quickly taken to the Central Montmorency Hospital, but died from his injuries soon after," read the story, which is no longer accessible.
However, little about the story was true. CNN's iReport is designed to let anyone post a story, whether it's real or not, in the interest of "citizen journalism." As for "Montmorency," that's the Melbourne suburb where Gotye grew up.
Thankfully, many Twitter users didn't fall for the story.
"FOR REAL?! Or is the Twitterverse on a 'killing spree' again?" asked @annacg.
"Morons, morons everywhere! ?#Gotye is not dead. CNN's iReport is user-generated," wrote @Rockyblizzard.
"You know you've hit the big time when there's a death hoax about you," tweeted @DianaDJ7.
"Now he's just somebody that we used to know," snarked dozens of Twitter users.
Gotye himself killed the rumor with the terse tweet "I'm not dead. #Pinkalbumtitles," referring to singer Pink's fourth LP, "I'm Not Dead."
One of his bandmates, keyboard player Tim Shiel, was more creative.
"It saddens me to confirm the news of @gotye's passing — he suffered cardiac arrest while flying a unicorn over a double rainbow," tweeted Shiel. "In space."