There's a network of fake local news websites that is pushing the same story about several different celebrities and towns. Did you know Adam Sandler, Robert Downey Jr, Patrick Dempsey, Ashton Kutchner, Jim Carrey, Johnny Depp, Samuel L. Jackson, Vin Diesel (and many others) all said something about the residents of Austell, Georgia or Kalamazoo, Michigan or Bristol, Pennsylvania or Decatur, Ga (or dozens of other towns)? And that the story in each of these cases went exactly the same?
The template for the stories seems to be as follows:
[TOWN], [STATE] - In a radio interview this morning, [CELEBRITY TYPE] [CELEBRITY] took a few moments to praise [TOWN], [STATE] residents for helping him after his rental car encountered a mechanical issue as he was passing through the city recently:
"We were just leaving [TOWN], [STATE] when our car began to overheat so I pulled over to the side of the road and noticed there were a couple of cars pulling up behind me. They got out and asked if I needed any help and I told them that I was just about to call someone. Then one of them says that he has a brother who owns a tow truck and a few minutes later it showed up and they towed it in to get fixed.
So now we're talking and I'm telling them that I'm just passing through the area and they offer to take me in to get lunch while my car is getting fixed and I'm thinking, 'Sure, what the hell.' So we drove to what is probably the finest dining spot in all of [TOWN] - some place on [STREET], I think it was - and had one hell of a great sandwich.
And these guys had no idea who I was which, honestly, just made my day. I'm telling you, these people in [TOWN] are the real deal. If I ever retire, I'm moving there!" [CELEBRITY] said with a laugh.
[CELEBRITY] added later, "You have to understand, this is something that would have never happened in L.A.! So yeah... that's my story about [TOWN], [STATE]. It's nice to know that there are still places like this in America."
We spotted an entire network of sites all designed to look like local news websites which all published versions of the above story. Some sites in the network include:
Tip: if you see a story about a celebrity visiting your local town and/or saying something about it, try to Google a distinct phrase from the article first before sharing it. If you see nearly identical seach results pop up about different celebrities in different locations you know you are dealing with fake news. Don't fall for it!
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