BERLIN, Germany (CNN) — A hoax video purporting to show Michael Jackson hopping out of a coroner’s van alive was produced by a German television station as an experiment, the broadcaster told CNN Monday.
Michael Jackson was found dead on June 25. He had been preparing for a comeback.
It was made to show how easy it is to spread rumors online, said Heike Schultz, a spokeswoman for RTL, the leading private broadcaster in Germany.
“We sent out a press release before we did the video to alert everyone that it was fake, but once posted it spread really fast,” she said.
More than 880,000 people have clicked on the most popular version of the video on YouTube, posted by a user using the name “michaeljacksonhoax” under the title “Michael Jackson alive?! Seen coming out of coroner’s van!” Nearly 3,600 people have commented on the video.
“All the moves, his posture, the stepping out of the van, looks like MJ. He steps out very cautious, like a moonwalk. Also the slowly walking is just like Michael did,” one user wrote.
“I really hope he’s still alive….I could never forgive him for scaring me like that, but I could never hate him… :),” another said.
Not everyone was fooled.
“I would forgive Michael for anything because he is so super sexy but seriously guys he has passed,” one user wrote. “MJ has passed so leave him alone this movie is fake. R.I.P. Michael I love and miss u.”
A second version of the video, posted and annotated by “MUZIKfactory2” to show inconsistencies, has been seen more than 329,000 times. Both versions were posted on August 25.
RTL produced the video for its daily magazine “Explosive” to tell people not to take information at face value, the station’s representative said.
“This was so obviously fake, in the case of Michael Jackson, it just was not possible,” Schultz said.
According to Schultz, some viewers have been happy that the magazine showed them how easy it was to fake information online. Others who were Michael Jackson fans have told RTL that this was the wrong topic to do this kind of experiment on.
“It was not a bad thing, since it was so obviously a fake. But it is now in our poison wardrobe and it won’t be revived again,” Schultz said.
RTL said it removed the video from the Internet, but it can still be seen on YouTube.
News of Jackson’s death on June 25 sparked something of a feeding frenzy on the Web, as many news Web sites struggled to cope with the sheer volume of traffic.
With that came rumors that dragged in other celebrities completely unconnected to the “King of Pop’s” death.
One Wikipedia prankster wrote that Jackson had been “savagely murdered” by his brother Tito, who had strangled him “with a microphone cord.” Soon rumors spread online that movie star Jeff Goldblum had fallen from the Kauri Cliffs in New Zealand while filming his latest movie.
On several search engines, “Jeff Goldblum” soon became the only non-Jackson-related term to crop up in the top 10. The rumors forced Goldblum’s publicist to issue a statement to media outlets, saying: “Reports that Jeff Goldblum has passed away are completely untrue. He is fine and in Los Angeles.”
At the same time, Harrison Ford was also rumored to have fallen from a yacht off the south of France.
LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) – For all the attention heaped on Jon Hamm and the male cast of “Mad Men,” now in its third season on AMC, Elisabeth Moss is arguably the heart of the drama.
Now an Emmy nominee for the first time, the Los Angeles native and former ballerina worked steadily as a child actor before breaking through as the first daughter on NBC’s “The West Wing.” “Mad Men” creator Matthew Weiner picked her to play ambitious adwoman Peggy Olson after auditioning Moss and January Jones (who ended up cast as Betty Draper, the wife of Jon Hamm’s character).
THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER: MATT WEINER’S NEGOTIATION FOR A NEW DEAL WITH (PRODUCER) LIONSGATE AND AMC GOT PRETTY HEATED LAST FALL. WAS THERE A POINT WHERE YOU AND THE CAST THOUGHT YOU MIGHT HAVE A NEW BOSS THIS SEASON?
Elisabeth Moss: We were standing on the sidelines. We all talked about it, as you’d speculate on whether you’re going to have a job. We were unanimous in feeling that this was Matt’s show and we wanted him to get what he wanted, but at the same time, we wanted to go back and make more (episodes). I think we all would have followed Matt wherever he went, but we also love working with AMC. I am just happy it worked out.
THE GOSSIP MAGAZINES RECENTLY PUBLISHED A PHOTO FROM THE SET OF THE DRAPERS HOLDING A BABY, WHICH MUST HAVE REALLY TICKED OFF WEINER. HOW TIGHT IS HIS GRIP ON PLOT DETAILS?
Moss: It is so important to Matt, and to the way the story is told, that things remain secret if possible. But I can say that (this season) Peggy starts becoming more of Don’s protege and moves up in that world. She goes down paths that are wrong for her, but she is just trying to figure out what it means to be in her position in that man’s world. I don’t honestly know if she is going to figure it out. Does she have to be like Don, or can she be her own person?
DESPITE ALL THE EMMY ATTENTION AND MEDIA COVERAGE, RATINGS REMAIN RELATIVELY SMALL. IS THAT FRUSTRATING FOR YOU?
Moss: I want the show to go as long as possible, so of course I want more people to watch it. But the success so far is way beyond what a lot of us expected, so it’s hard to complain. I’m sure the network and studio want more ratings, but I can’t believe that the show even happened.
FOR ALL THE ACCLAIM, SOME HAVE SUGGESTED THAT THE SHOW COULD GROW ITS AUDIENCE IF IT DIDN’T UNFOLD AT SUCH A DELIBERATE PACE. HAVE YOU NOTICED ANY CHANGES THIS SEASON?
Moss: We have our way of doing things. We like to not give people what they want right away, and it makes us what we are. It seems to have worked so far, so I think we’ll keep going.
MATT IS SAID TO BE DEMANDING WITH THE CAST. TRUE?
Moss: Theater is a very different experience than doing anything else. You spend six months doing one project over and over. On “Mad Men,” you do six scenes a day for seven days; then you’re done, you never see it again. But I don’t really prefer one over the other.
MANY WERE DEBATING WHETHER YOU OR JONES WOULD GET THE (LEAD ACTRESS) EMMY NOMINATION. DID YOU SUBMIT THE LAST EPISODE OF THE SEASON, WHERE PEGGY FINALLY TOLD PETE (VINCENT KARTHEISER) SHE’D HAD HIS BABY?
Moss: I think so. Our characters, and we as actors, had done all of the work that was required to get to that moment over two seasons. It felt as climactic for us as actors as it did, hopefully, for the audience. Usually on a TV show, that might be revealed early, but we dragged it out over 13 episodes.
Moss: He’s the creator of the show, it’s his vision and he is very particular, so detail-oriented. And that’s what makes the show so great. Every single cast member would sing his praises. He has it in his head how he wants it to look, but he’s willing to work with your ideas.
YOU’RE FOLLOWING THIS SEASON WITH A ROLE IN THE JUDD APATOW-PRODUCED COMEDY “GET HIM TO THE GREEK.” WHAT’S THE STRATEGY FOR PICKING ROLES?
Moss: I don’t have any big strategy or master plan. It’s just a matter of what I believe in and what seems like a good project. I did a romantic comedy (with Sarah Jessica Parker and Hugh Grant) called “Did You Hear About the Morgans?” which seemed kind of fun, because I like to do things that are different from “Mad Men,” to stretch different muscles.
LOS ANGELES — Paula Abdul is back in the judge’s seat — but not on the “American Idol” stage.
Abdul cameos in Lifetime’s “Drop Dead Diva” as a gavel-banging, glammed-up version of herself in a dream sequence set in a Los Angeles courtroom. In the over-the-top scene, the former “Idol” judge dispenses oh-so-fabulous justice in the form of a vocal and fashion critique to Jane (played by Brooke Elliott), a plus-size lawyer possessed by a skinny model.
“Jane, you bring it with your voice, but you lose it with your choice,” Abdul declares.
At one point in her scene from the Sept. 13 episode, “Judge Paula” rises from the bench to reveal her “belted and bedazzled” ensemble — a chunky belt and glittery skirt below a flowing top crafted from a black judge’s robe. Abdul appears in Jane’s dream to motive her to continue suing a clothing retailer that only sells small dresses. Abdul’s final verdict?
“It’s nice being the only judge,” she coos.
Abdul will next be seen as the host of the “VH1 Divas” concert, the live Sept. 17 event which will include performances by “American Idol” winners Kelly Clarkson and Jordin Sparks as well as Miley Cyrus and Adele. Abdul has yet to announce a steady job to replace her role on the Fox singing contest, which she left amid contract negotiations in July.