Fact Check: Investigators Did NOT Discover Real Corpse Of Michael Jackson In 2005

Fact Check

  • by: Alexis Tereszcuk
Fact Check: Investigators Did NOT Discover Real Corpse Of Michael Jackson In 2005 It's A Joke

Did Neverland Ranch investigators discover the real corpse of Michael Jackson in 2005? No, that's not true: The source for the information in the video on TikTok is an article published on The Onion, a well-known satire website. There is no attribution to The Onion for the information in the video. The news article shown as the source for details about Jackson doesn't display the name of the publication.

The claim appeared in a video on TikTok on March 7, 2024 (archived here). It began:

Michael Jackson, was his original body, I'm gonna put it like that, really discovered in 2005?

This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:

Screen Shot 2024-03-12 at 9.21.25 AM.png

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Tue Mar 12 17:17:53 2024 UTC)

Jackson's 2009 death was widely reported (archived here). But in the four-minute video, the narrator claims his body was found four years earlier, and attributes the claim to a news article that she shows, without a headline or attribution to a publisher:

Screen Shot 2024-03-12 at 10.54.13 AM.png

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Tue Mar 12 17:20:16 2024 UTC)

The screenshot she uses exactly matches an article posted on The Onion (archived here) titled, "Neverland Ranch Investigators Discover Corpse Of Real Michael Jackson" in which it spoofed the entertainer, saying he'd been dead for more than a decade:

Screen Shot 2024-03-12 at 10.55.30 AM.png

(Source: The Onion screenshot taken on Tue Mar 12 17:25:54 2024 UTC)

The Onion article was published in 2005, four years before Jackson's actual death. The details she reads from the article are verbatim what is in The Onion article, but instead of saying the word "died" she says, "unalived."

The Onion is a famous satire website. Their about section (archived here) notes that what they do is made up:

What if I want to sue The Onion?
Please do not do that. The First Amendment protects satire as a form of free speech and expression. The Onion uses invented names in all of its stories, except in cases where public figures are being satirized. Any other use of real names is accidental and coincidental. The Onion is not intended for readers under 18 years of age.

Other Lead Stories fact checks containing The Onion can be found here.

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  Alexis Tereszcuk

Alexis Tereszcuk is a writer and fact checker at Lead Stories and an award-winning journalist who spent over a decade breaking hard news and celebrity scoop with RadarOnline and Us Weekly.

As the Entertainment Editor, she investigated Hollywood stories and conducted interviews with A-list celebrities and reality stars.  

Alexis’ crime reporting earned her spots as a contributor on the Nancy Grace show, CNN, Fox News and Entertainment Tonight, among others.

Read more about or contact Alexis Tereszcuk

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