Fake News: R. Lee Ermey NOT Victim Of Death Hoax, Actually Dead

Fact Check

  • by: Maarten Schenk
Fake News: R. Lee Ermey NOT Victim Of Death Hoax, Actually Dead

Was R. Lee Ermey the victim of an internet death hoax and is he still alive? No, unfortunately the actor really passed away on April 15, 2018 but many people did not believe the news of his passing because of an internet hoax about him being the victim of a death hoax that has been online since 2015 was still being shared around.

The death hoax hoax originally appeared here (but it has been scrubbed since then) on the website MediaMass. An archived copy of the fake news about the death hoax found here opened:

News of actor R. Lee Ermey's death spread quickly earlier this week causing concern among fans across the world. However the January 2015 report has now been confirmed as a complete hoax and just the latest in a string of fake celebrity death reports. Thankfully, the actor best known for his role in Full Metal Jacket is alive and well.

Users on social media were still sharing links to that old article (with an updated date) which still shows up with the original summary on social media as you can seen in this screenshot:

Unfortunately The New York Times confirmed on April 15, 2018 that R. Lee Ermey has gone to the great Marine baracks in the sky:

R. Lee Ermey, Profane Drill Sergeant in 'Full Metal Jacket,' Dies at 74

Ronald Lee Ermey was born on March 24, 1944, in Emporia, Kan., and moved to Washington State at age 11. He enlisted in the Marines immediately after graduating from high school and intended to spend decades in the military.

The website MediaMass has an about page that explains the concept behind the site:

The name "Mediamass"
The project's name is an ironic reversal of portmanteau "mass-media" (media for the masses) in "media-mass" which here means "media en masse" as mass production and therefore mass consumption are the object of our criticism.

The website "mediamass.net"
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 producers (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.

Our 'People' section
Our website is very new (launched back at the end of October 2012) and still under construction. The 'People' section the only active one.

The concept is to select the most typical, representative and recurrent articles across Gossip magazines and to make them available for all the celebrities in our database.

The 'People' section is a humorous parody of Gossip magazines, all stories are obviously not true.

Usually when people mentioned in one of the articles on the site that says they were victim of death hoax really pass away the site quietly updates the article to indicate the news has now been confirmed.

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  Maarten Schenk

Lead Stories co-founder 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

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