Just Because It's Trending Doesn't Mean It's True
Hoax Alert

Fake News: Tom Cruise Did NOT Die Filming A Deadly Jet Fighter Dogfight Stunt For His New Movie TOP GUN 2

  • by: Maarten Schenk
  • (Tue, 03 Sep 2019 12:30:50 Z)

Did actor Tom Cruise die filming a deadly jet fighter dogfight stunt while filming Top Gun 2? No, that's not true: it is a hoax we found on a site that recently published a viral death hoax about Clint Eastwood. It appears the new hoax has not been promoted yet so this might be the first time in history a fact checker pre-emptively debunks a death hoax before it even started spreading.

We found the hoax on this site (archived here) under the title "TOM CRUISE Died Filming A Deadly Jet Fighter Dogfight Stunt For His New Movie TOP GUN 2". It did not contain any text except for a link to a second page that had this video embedded (archived here):

Screenshot of http://hollywood.overseasdaily.com/1/p000/what-is-the-best-way-t-q/

Note that the video is just a snippet from a real news report about an air crash that did not involve Tom Cruise:

Navy fighter jet crashes in Death Valley National Park, pilot still missing

A single-seat Navy fighter jet crashed Wednesday morning in Inyo County and the pilot's status was unknown, officials confirmed.

The site tricks people into sharing a link to the hoax by obscuring the video after a few seconds with a "sensitive content" warning and then demanding they share the link on Facebook to keep watching.

The exact same thing happened with a different hoax about Clint Eastwood that was also run by the same site. We wrote up the technical details of that hoax here:

Clint Eastwood Death Hoax Tech Eerily Reminiscent of 2017 Rowan Atkinson Death Hoax | Lead Stories

Earlier this week Lead Stories already reported that Clint Eastwood was NOT dead, despite what a YouTube video was claiming: Hoax Alert Did Clint Eastwood recently die? No, that is not true: It is a celebrity death hoax.

It was an investigation of that hoax that Lead Stories stumbled on the (unreleased) Tom Cruise death hoax.

About the author:

Maarten Schenk is our resident expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.  He can often be found at conferences and events about fake news, disinformation and fact checking when he is not in his office in Belgium monitoring and tracking the latest fake article to go viral.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk

About Lead Stories

Lead Stories uses the Trendolizer™ engine to detect the most trending stories from known fake news, satire and prank websites and tries to debunk them as fast as possible. Read more about how we work and how we select stories to check here.

Spotted a hoax that you think we should investigate? Have a tip? Want to send us a correction? Contact us!

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