On Nov. 21, 2023, Disney fan blog Inside the Magic published an article claiming that Grammy-winning singer Billie Eilish had replaced Emmy-nominated actor Jenna Ortega in the Netflix TV series "Wednesday."
The article began:
Billie Eilish Replaces Jenna Ortega in ‘Wednesday’ as Netflix Fires Cast
It appears Billie Eilish now has an iconic Wednesday Addams look as the singer preps to attend Nevermore Academy.
The article was published the day before news broke that Ortega was not expected to return for "Scream VII" after she starred in 2022's "Scream" and 2023's "Scream VI." At the time of this writing, Deadline reported her departure from the film was due to the shooting schedule for the second season of "Wednesday," and was not related to fellow actor Melissa Barrera being fired from the movie for pro-Palestine social media posts amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict.
This information from reputable sources is part of the reason we found Inside the Magic's headline misleading. There was no mention of Ortega being replaced by Eilish in "Wednesday." Instead, the article reported that a fan of the show had created images generated by artificial intelligence (AI) of Eilish portraying the character.
At the very bottom of the Inside the Magic article, it said:
The second season of the show is set to begin filming next year in Ireland, but it will be Jenna helming the ship, and not Eilish.
At the time of this writing, there was no firm evidence that any members of the show's cast had been fired either. Two actors were mentioned in the Inside the Magic article as having been removed from the show, Thora Birch and Percy Hynes White. Deadline reported in December 2021 that Birch had left the show while it was filming its first season for personal reasons.
In January 2023, sexual assault allegations against Hynes White began to spread on social media. He later called the allegations a "campaign of misinformation" in June 2023, according to reputable news and entertainment publications.
The Daily Mail published an article in September 2023 claiming that Hynes White had been written out of the second season of "Wednesday" because of the allegations, which publications like NME and Decider used as the source for their own articles about the claim. However, the Daily Mail article itself was sourced using anonymous "industry insiders." The article also stated Netflix had said no casting decisions for the second season of the show had been made because of the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes affecting Hollywood at the time.
This is not the first time Inside the Magic has published articles with clickbait headlines and questionable content. For example, we previously fact-checked another false claim with a clickbait headline that stated Disney+ would be shut down by Disney in December 2023.