In the wake of the Newtown, Conn., school shooting on Friday, a statement supposedly written by actor Morgan Freeman blamed the massacre on the “sensationalist media” and spread like wildfire across the Internet. Despite the online popularity of the statement, Freeman’s publicist denied the actor wrote it.
In the statement, the bogus “Morgan Freeman” blames the media for the mass shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, stating that by sensationalizing the killings and making the shooter famous, the media are in a sense glorifying the atrocities in the minds of unstable people who may be prone to violence and mental illness.
The statement was posted on sites such as Hollywood Gossip and Reddit, among others, before quickly going viral on Facebook as well.
Despite the fact the statement quickly spread across the Internet with the "Morgan Freeman" name attached to it, the actor's publicist Stan Rosenfield told TheWrap on Sunday that the real Morgan Freeman had no involvement with the statement.
So where did the statement come from? A Reddit thread connects the statement with an identical one posted on Facebook by a man named Mark in Vancouver. Mark reportedly later commented on the post, “If I know the Internet, someone will attribute the quote to Morgan Freeman or Betty White and it'll go viral."
The statement, clearly not written by the real Morgan Freeman, but designed as an Internet hoax, reads as follows:
"You want to know why [the Newtown shooting happened]. This may sound cynical, but here's why.
“It's because of the way the media reports it. Flip on the news and watch how we treat the Batman theater shooter and the Oregon mall shooter like celebrities. Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris are household names, but do you know the name of a single victim of Columbine? Disturbed people who would otherwise just off themselves in their basements see the news and want to top it by doing something worse, and going out in a memorable way. Why a grade school? Why children? Because he'll be remembered as a horrible monster, instead of a sad nobody.
“CNN's article says that if the body count ‘holds up’, this will rank as the second deadliest shooting behind Virginia Tech, as if statistics somehow make one shooting worse than another. Then they post a video interview of third-graders for all the details of what they saw and heard while the shootings were happening. Fox News has plastered the killer's face on all their reports for hours. Any articles or news stories yet that focus on the victims and ignore the killer's identity? None that I've seen yet. Because they don't sell. So congratulations, sensationalist media, you've just lit the fire for someone to top this and knock off a day care center or a maternity ward next.
“You can help by forgetting you ever read this man's name, and remembering the name of at least one victim. You can help by donating to mental health research instead of pointing to gun control as the problem."