In November 2015, a number of fake news sites, including Now8News, began sharing articles claiming a lottery winner had died after attempting to gold-plate his testicles:
Growing up in a life of poverty, 38-year-old Justin Green saw his hopes and dreams come true when hitting $100 million Georgia lottery last month. Friends reported that Green immediately quit his job at Walmart and made plans for a “better life.” Apparently, his idea of a better life would not be at the top of the list for most lottery winners. As a young man, Green was obsessed with the 2002 movie comedy Goldmember – an Austin Powers parody of the bond movie Goldfinger in which Powers is hunting a criminal mastermind who colors his victims ‘man parts’ in gold.
According to family members, Green went on a shopping spree which included gold and diamond chains, exotic cars, custom gold and diamond “grills” and … get this … gold plated genitals. Green approached many people in the gold plating business, however he was turned down by every store owner – Green was warned this was a very dangerous procedure. Green began painting his genitals with lead-based paint, but quickly decided that a simple coloring wasn’t enough – he needed the real gold. To complete the makeshift operation, Green used a professional automotive gold plater that he borrowed from a garage. Unfortunately in the 12 hours following the procedure, Green encountered a series of health issues that ultimately led to his death.
A 19 November 2015 version that appeared on the web site Viral Covert relocated the hapless lottery winner’s residence to Canada:
Justin Reiter from Alberta, Canada, died of medical complications after attempting to gold plate his own genitals to celebrate an astonishing $598,556 jackpot win … Justin started by painting his genitals with a lead-based paint, but quickly decided that a simple coloring wasn’t enough: he needed to take it to the next level, he needed the real gold. To complete the makeshift operation, Reiter used a professional automotive gold plater that he borrowed from a garage. Unfortunately in the twelve hours following the procedure, Justing encountered a series of health issues that ultimately led to his death.
Both versions featured the same image of a doctor purportedly involved with the fatal incident:
Now8News identified the physician depicted as “Dr. William Rife at Emory University Hospital,” while Viral Covert claimed the photograph was that of “Dr Ian Joseffson of the Alberta Community Hospital”:
All of this was just more fake news, however. An image search revealed that the photograph of the doctor was swiped from a 12 May 2012 article about a health scare in Tulsa, in which the physician was correctly identified ias “Dr. Michael Smith [of] St. John Health System ER.” Similarly, the purported testicle-gilding lottery winner was in fact Polish rapper Popek: