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Gossip site still spreading false rumors about Queen’s death

Topline

False rumors about Queen Elizabeth’s death circulated the internet on Wednesday as gossip site Hollywood Unlocked claimed to report “exclusive news” that the Queen had died, then refused to take down the story. Here is a breakdown of the spread of the unsubstantiated claim.

Highlights

On Tuesday, Hollywood Unblocked, a celebrity gossip site with 2.8 million Instagram followers run by former TV-creature star Jason Lee, posted “Exclusive News” from “Sources Close to the Royal Kingdom” that Queen Elizabeth has been found dead before attending British vogue editor Edward Enninful’s Tuesday wedding, which quickly spread across the internet.

No other site has confirmed the news and the palace has taken no action indicating it might be true.

The Palace has a detailed procedure for alerting the public when the Queen dies, called Operation London Bridge, a key part of which is that the Palace will release an “official notification” of her death, which has not been issued.

In a second Instagram post on Tuesday about the London Bridge operation, Hollywood Unlocked doubled down on its information that the Queen had died.

While reporters called out the site for spreading a false rumor, Lee said he stood by the report, saying he had “never lied” and was “never wrong. and that he was going to a Kanye West concert on Tuesday night.

On Wednesday morning, now-deleted tweets circulated from an unverified Hollywood Unlocked account under the handle @HollywoodUL which retracted the story of the Queen’s death, apologized to the Royal Family and blamed the incident to a “trainee” who “posted a draft by mistake”. ”

In response, Lee job on his personal account saying the statements came from a “fake account”, Hollywood Unlocked did “not retract” the story and noted that “there has not yet been an official statement from the Palace” saying opposite.

Forbes has contacted Buckingham Palace for comment.

Key Context

Lee launched Hollywood Unlocked in 2015, which was described by Billboard as an “urban entertainment news destination.” Lee appeared as a recurring character on the reality show love and hip hop and as a cast member of Nick Cannon’s improv comedy show Wild ‘N Out. Lee hosts a popular podcast, Hollywood Unblocked with Jason Lee [Uncensored], on which celebrities like Kanye West, Cardi B, Amber Rose and Floyd Mayweather have appeared. Hollywood Unlocked has 315,000 subscribers on Youtube, and Lee has nearly 40,000 followers on Twitter and over 500,000 on Instagram.

Tangent

The palace announced on Sunday that the Queen, 95, had contracted Covid-19, and said on Tuesday she was still suffering from “mild cold-like” symptoms as a result. As dictated by Operation London Bridge, when Queen Elizabeth dies, the Prime Minister and other senior government officials will be notified within hours of her death by telephone calls. The palace will issue an official announcement and its website will confirm the news. Prince Charles will immediately become king. Queen Elizabeth made a startling statement earlier this month as she celebrated her 70th year on the throne, saying she would like Charles’ wife Camilla to be considered queen consort once Charles becomes King. When Charles married Camilla in 2005 after divorcing Princess Diana, the palace said Camilla would only be known as a princess consort. The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee to mark her 70 years of service will be celebrated over a weekend in June.

Further reading

Queen Elizabeth says her ‘sincere wish’ is for Camilla to be queen (Forbes)

The British plan for the death of Queen Elizabeth II (Politico)

Queen Elizabeth and Justin Bieber have both tested positive for Covid. Its risk is about 340 times higher. (Forbes)

In photos: Queen Elizabeth II through the years (Forbes)