On March 1, 2023, we got an email from a reader asking if TV host Steve Harvey had died. He had not.
The question could have come from a misleading YouTube video posted about a week earlier that claimed, "1 hour ago, American TV icon Steve Harvey suddenly died at home at the age of 66," or a recent article on a website that covers celebrity death hoaxes.
We also found a fake obituary for him on a website that claimed to be an "Encyclopedia of Death and Dying." The passage read:
Steve Harvey is dead
Steve Harvey, born on January 17, 1957 in Welch, was an American actor, comedian and television host. He died on March 4, 2023 at the age of 66.
There were several indications that that entry wasn't reporting real news. First, when we were writing this March 4, 2023, hadn't happened yet. Also, a disclaimer near the top of the page described the entry as, "Steve Harvey anticipated obituary ("anticipated" means that he is not dead)."
As far as the YouTube video, the channel that posted the clip, Actor Disappeared, seems to be dedicated to death hoaxes. With more than 56,000 subscribers, the channel previously posted misleading videos about actors Liam Neeson and Richard Gere supposedly dying, among other celebrities.
MediaMass.net also posted an article about "news of actor Steve Harvey's death." We've looked into the website before. In February 2023, we covered a death hoax about actor Tim Curry that was linked to the website.
Many articles on the site, including the ones about Harvey and Curry, were similar. Both posts displayed updates from the current date, reading, "This story seems to be false. (read more)."
When you click the link attached to "read more," the website takes you to a page with a disclaimer describing the website's content as satire. "The website mediamass.net is the medium of our satire to expose with humor, exaggeration and ridicule the contemporary mass production and mass consumption that we observe," says the page.
Also, the website displayed articles about celebrity deaths that had really happened, such as actress Raquel Welch. She died in February 2023.
2023 wasn't the first time people questioned whether Harvey had died. Social media users have spread various death hoaxes about him over the years, including another YouTube video that was posted in late 2022. That video was captioned: "15 minutes ago / R.I.P TV icon Steve Harvey, Goodbye Steve Harvey."
If Harvey had truly died, stories on reputable news outlets would memorialize him. That was not the case. There was also no evidence that Harvey's health was declining or fatal. (In January, he discussed ways to meet health goals on the talk show "The View," saying, "You're not gonna eat perfect all the time," he said. "When you fall off the wagon, get back up on the wagon.")
Harvey's wife, Marjorie Harvey, has also been the subject of a death hoax. A video posted to YouTube in December 2022 falsely claimed, "R.I.P. Steve Harvey's wife Marjorie Died, Host Shared Heartbreaking Message About Losing His Wife." At the time of publication, the video had more than 140,000 views.
Other falsehoods about Harvey have spread across the internet, as well. In 2022, we debunked a false claim in a Facebook ad about him supposedly leaving his hosting gig at "Family Feud" after endorsing CBD gummies on the Dr. Phil show.