The actor was a victim of a sick death hoax
Rowan Atkinson has disproved a vicious hoax that he had died in a car crash by appearing at a premiere for Chinese comedy film Top Funny Comedian dressed as Mr Bean.
As reported by Newshub, Rowan Atkinson was seen in China reviving his iconic role as Mr Bean for the premiere of Chinese comedy film Top Funny Comedian. In the film, Atkinson portrays his slapstick British comic character, also known as 憨豆先生 Hān Dòu Xiānshēng or Mr Foolish Bean in China.
Whilst the film will be exclusively released in China, the cast comprises of actors with speaking different languages. The 62-year-old said that his body language and comedy was the main way he communicated with his Mandarin co-stars.
Top Funny Comedian is based on the popular Chinese variety show in which top comedians compete. The film also stars Guo Degang 郭德纲, Yue Yunpeng 岳云鹏, Xiao Fei 小斐 and other comedians.
The Sun reports that a fake Twitter account was set up to look like Fox News and was used to spread a rumour that Atkinson had been killed in a car crash.
The tweet, which quoted the wrong age for Atkinson read: “FOX BREAKING NEWS : Mr. Bean (Rowan Atkinson) died at 58 after car accident. -March 18, 2017.”
It was shared and liked more than 300,000 times.
Website Hoax Alert debunked the rumour, stating:
“Celebrity death hoaxes are nothing new on the internet yet this one is special in that it managed to be liked/shared over 300,000 times in a short period of time by employing some devious technical tricks.
“The first one is the video player embedded in the site. At first sight this is just a normal YouTube video from a Fox News broadcast (which is about a death but not about Rowan Atkinson).”
The report suggests that scammers were likely to have earned money from the hoax.
“The scammers are making money by sometimes not showing the video or the share dialog when visitors click but instead redirecting them to pages full of deceptive ads and popups.
“It is unclear at this time how much they walked away with but it is probably a substantial sum by now based on the amounts of likes and shares we have been seeing.”
Atkinson fans were quick to soak up the initial news, expressing their sadness. One fan wrote on twitter, “Rowan Atkinson has died. He’s most known for Mr Bean but Blackadder will always be my favorite. He was always fun to watch. RIP” Another wrote, “Absolutely crushed to hear about Rowan Atkinson. One of the few comedians that illicited the same uproarious response from me my whole life”