Photo Credit: D Dipasupil/FilmMagic
Like the rest of America -- and indeed the world -- celebrities have been vocal about the horrific Dec. 14 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn. But among the many voices of sadness and support, one distinguished actor's quotes about the tragedy went viral and stirred controversy. However, they were quickly deemed to be completely false.
Morgan Freeman was attributed with comments that overtly blamed the media for providing the killer (now known to be 20-year-old Newtown resident Adam Lanza, who shot and killed 27 people, 20 of them children aged 6 and 7) with a motive to become a mass murderer: notoriety.
But as it turns out, Freeman never released the statements making their way around social media networks and reports.
"Morgan neither made statements or posted those statements. We are trying to find out who did, but they did not originate from him," the Oscar winner's rep tells E! News.
So what was the hoax? The 75-year-old actor was credited with saying the following about the killings: "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."
The fake Freeman statement continued: "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."
For credibly sourced accounts about that heartbreaking day, read one Sandy Hook Elementary School mother's chronicle of her Friday, tips on how to talk to kids about the shootings and a discussion of gun control here on iVillage.