In February 2020, a video supposedly showing a BBC News report about the death of Vanessa Bryant, widow of NBA legend Kobe Bryant, circulated on social media.
Here’s a screenshot of how the video appeared on Facebook:
This was not a genuine news report. It was a hoax designed to capitalize on the recent death of the NBA star and the couple’s teenage daughter, Gianna; both were killed in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26, 2020, along with seven others.
Multiple red flags indicated that this was a junk news report. For starters, the website Network-Channel-Wereblogs.com is not typically where you’d find video reports from BBC News.
Second, while the preview image listed “BBC News,” the actual video featured unrelated reporting from Fox News’ Neil Cavuto.
Lastly, when visiting this website to view the video, only a few seconds played before viewers were prompted to share the report on Facebook. This is not a typical practice of the BBC, but it is common among online hoaxes.
In sum, Vanessa Bryant did not die by suicide in February 2020. This false rumor started with a hoax aimed at capitalizing on a tragic event.