When reports that Seinfeld favorite Wayne Knight—aka the infamous Newman—passed away in a car accident on Sunday near the New York-Pennsylvania border, the internet immediately seized on the story as the next celebrity tragedy. Thankfully, though, this one is a big, fat hoax.
Knight addressed the situation via his Twitter account, saying that he is “alive and well,” adding later that the outpouring of grief sent is way was touching. “Thanks for all the love, everybody. I didn’t know you cared. Glad to be breathing!” he tweeted, adding later “Does someone have to DIE to trend? Geez!”
What made Knight the target of this latest hoax is anyone’s guess, but lengths that the hoaxers went to to convince the internet of his death are fairly impressive. Seems that the pranksters created several fake websites to mimic news sources like Us Magazine and TMZ, along with photoshopped tweets and the like. Which, of course, is to say that this one was deliberate, and not just a simple rumor or tweet that got out of control.
Even the news-y writeup was somewhat tough to argue with:
“Actor Wayne Knight, better known to most for playing one of the most indelible roles on NBC’s “Seinfeld” as the charater “Newman” is dead and two other passengers are critically injured after their vehicle slammed into a disabled semi-tractor-trailer late Saturday nightalong Route 446 near the Pennsylvania-New York state border in Eldred Township.”
Which, of course, is likely because the hoaxers took most of the factual information from a report by the Bradford Era that detailed a crash that killed a 26-year-old woman from Grand Island, NY and injured her two children.
Why Knight was inserted into the situation is anyone’s guess.