Richard Karn, the star of Home Improvement and former host of Family Feud, is not dead despite a Facebook rumor. Karn confirmed he is alive and well in a Twitter post. The post first appeared on the America Loves Donald Trump Facebook page on the morning of June 29.
The post said that, “Karn was a lifelong Republican and staunch Trump supporter.” The headline of the story incorrectly said that Karn was 69 years old. The internal links surrounding the Karn story promise links to stories about the deaths of celebrities such as Dick Van Dyke, Steve Martin as well as Supreme Court Judge Ruth Bader Ginsberg.
Karn, 64, posted a link to the America Loves Donald Trump page on Twitter while adding, “Everything about that post is wrong.”
Karn Was the Victim of a Similar Death Hoax in 2019
A similar post saying that Karn had passed away appeared in August 2019. Karn responded to a fan who was angry about a fake news article that insinuated that the actor had died by joking, “Schroding’s cat…I’m both alive and dead at the same time.”
According to Karn’s IMDb page, he has four projects currently in pre-production including the holiday movie, The Christmas Dance. Karn said in an April 2018 interview with Closer Weekly that he has spoken to Tim Allen about a Home Improvement reboot. Karn said that Allen, an outspoken supporter of Donald Trump’s, was on board with the idea of a reboot. Karn added, “And I think [Pat Richardson] and the kids would be on board.”
Stars Like Jeff Goldblum & The Rock Have Been Victims of Death Hoaxes in the Past
Death hoaxes are common in the internet age. In March 2014, ABC News published a guideline for internet users in order to help them to avoid falling for death hoaxes. At that time, a common death hoax suggested that various celebrities, including Jeff Goldblum and The Rock, had died after falling from some cliffs in New Zealand. The ABC article pointed out that readers should be eagle-eyed for “bait text” — information that seems interesting but has been used multiple times in multiple other fake stories.
A Washington Post article on the same topic encouraged users to stick to known websites and noted that “Breaking news stories will usually include the reporter’s name; hoaxes, mysteriously, go un-bylined.”
In 2014, The Week published a list of hoax sites. They included Empire News, The National Report, Huzlers, Daily Currant and Free Wood Post. The website noted that occasionally news stories from satire sites such as The Onion and Clickhole are circulated as legitimate news. The Week article concludes simply that users should “Take 30 seconds to determine whether something is real before you blast it out to hundreds of people. We’ll all have a better internet for it.”
Buzzfeed’s Craig Silverman, a specialist in fake news, told DigiDay in 2012, “Fake news relies on viral sharing. If you think about why so many stars are subject to death hoaxes, they’ve been part of a pop culture that people have an emotional connection to. And that is at the core of what makes fake news work.”