While many celebrities have expressed their sadness and frustration over Friday’s deadly shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT, actor Morgan Freeman has remained fairly quiet on the tragedy– at least publicly.
A phony statement credited to Freeman circulated the web this weekend blaming the media for the way they report such stories, allowing the shooters to become pseudo-celebrities. A rep for the 75-year-old actor says the comments are nothing more than an Internet hoax.
“Morgan neither made statements or posted those statements. We are trying to find out who did, but they did not originate from him,” the rep told E! News.
The fake statement, in full, said:
“You want to know why. 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.”
Freeman seems to be the “go-to” guy when it comes to viral pranks; the Hollywood vet has been the victim of countless Internet deaths and hoaxes in recent years.