Fake News: Henry Winkler Did NOT Die, Did NOT Donate Half Of His Estate To MAGA 2020

Fact Check

  • by: Maarten Schenk
Fake News: Henry Winkler Did NOT Die, Did NOT Donate Half Of His Estate To MAGA 2020

Did actor Henry Winkler just die and did he leave half of his estate to Donald Trump's MAGA 2020 campaign? No, that's not true: the death hoax was published by a liberal website that posts fake news with satire disclaimers and hopes to trick conservatives and Trump supporters into sharing it online so other people can then mock them for it. None of it is real.

The story originated from an article published by America's Last Line of Defense (now using the domain name worstpot.us) on September 1, 2018 titled "Henry Winkler - 1942-2018 - Donates Half Of His Estate To MAGA 2020" (archived here) which opened:

Henry Winkler has gone to that big bike shop in the sky to be with Big Al, Joanie, Mr. and Mrs. C and Ralph Malph. Winkler, who died peacefully among friends and family, had quietly battled salylical blastomyomal cancer of the 4th sphincter, which is incurable and always fatal. It has a mortality rate of nearly 9 percent of the dead that are killed by it.

Winkler was never very open politically, but he was a huge supporter of Donald Trump. Having never married or had children, Winkler's spokesman says his estate will be divided equally between a donation to the Trump 2020 re-election campaign and the Tanzanian island of Mourdalista, which is home to more than 60K stray dogs and cats.

Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail:

Henry Winkler - 1942-2018 - Donates Half Of His Estate To MAGA 2020

First Bill Clinton, then Sean Connery, now this? So sad.

There is no know disease called "salylical blastomyomal cancer" and the "4th sphincter" is definitely not part of the human anatomy. Also, Winkler's own Twitter account makes no mention of his death. No other reliable websites reported on it either.

The same site (using a different domain name) recently posted a Sean Connery death hoax as well, throwing further doubt on its credibility as a real news source:

Fake News: Sean Connery NOT Dead, NOT Trump Supporter And Friend | Lead Stories

Did actor Sean Connery die and was he a lifelong Trump supporter and friend? No, that's total nonsense: the death hoax was published by a liberal website that posts fake news with satire disclaimers and hopes less intellectually gifted Trump supporters and conservatives will then like and share it so fans of the site can then mock them for it.

And of course it comes with a clear satire disclaimer at the bottom of each article:

sat·ire ~ˈsaˌtī(ə)r
the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, OR ridicule to expose and criticize people's stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.
If you disagree with the definition of satire or have decided it is synonymous with "comedy," you should really just move along.

The owner and main writer of the site is self-professed liberal troll Christopher Blair, a man from Maine who has made it his full time job to troll gullible conservatives and Trump supporters into liking and sharing his articles. He runs several other websites, including potatriotpost.us, dailyworldupdate.us and nofakenewsonline.us. Sometimes he is also known under his nickname "Busta Troll". A second man working on the sites is John Prager as revealed in this earlier story we wrote.

Articles from Blair's sites frequently get copied by "real" fake news sites who often omit the satire disclaimer and any other hints the stories are fake. Blair has tried to get these sites shut down in the past but new ones keep cropping up and he keeps knocking them down.

If you see one of his stories on a site that does not contain a satire disclaimer, assume it is fake news. If you do see the satire disclaimer it is of course also fake news.

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  Maarten Schenk

Maarten Schenk is the co-founder and COO/CTO of Lead Stories and an 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.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk

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