Rowan Atkinson is the latest of celebrities to be targeted by the Twitter death hoax. The hoax entails tweeting a celebrity's name attached to "R.I.P." Although Justin Bieber stepped in and attempted to end the rumor, his attention appears to have only fueled the trend phrase.
Rumors suggesting that Rowan Atkinson, better known as "Mr. Bean", was dead began on Twitter on Sunday after a message was posted around 11 a.m. by a Twitter user in the Philippines named Michael Robert Meras. Wikipedia soon fell victim to the hoax. An anonymous Wikipedia member updated the actor's information site soon after the trend began by listing his death. The site read "born 6 January 1955- 26 February 2012."
An International Business Times reporter acknowledged the error before it was quickly changed by another Wiki member.
The Twitter member who began the hoax, later released an apology for his actions stating that he did not expect the message to go viral. "Shutting down now. Sorry guys, RIP Rowan Atkinson was just a joke. Sorry for that matter, I never thought it would be that viral," Michael Robert Meras wrote.
Apparently even Mr. Bean himself took to Twitter to refute the rumor. "I'M NOT DEAD !! R.I.P Rowan Atkinson !! ( DEÊM RT PRA DIVULGAR )," Mr. Bean wrote.
Justin Bieber may have attempted to stop the rumors, however his suggestion to retweet the confusing message seemed only to spread the rumor further. "R.I.P Rowan Atkinson: Stop joking. Remember he's Mr.Bean - who was a part of your childhood and grew up with you. RT to show your respect," Bieber tweeted.
By 1:30 p.m. Bieber's message was retweeted over 11,495 times, but unfortunately it kept the key words "R.I.P Rowan Atkinson" which only enflamed the death hoax trend on Twitter.