Has Stephen Collins Committed Suicide?

Did '7th Heaven' actor Stephen Collins commit suicide?

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Claim:   7th Heaven star Stephen Collins has committed suicide.


FALSE


In October 2014, news outlets reported allegations that actor Stephen Collins, best known for playing Eric Camden on the long-running television series 7th Heaven, had molested at least three underage girls at some point in the past. Shortly after these revelations broke, rumors began to circulate that the actor had taken his own life.

Those rumors were false and were in large part spread through misinformation reported by Collins’ neighbor, actress Donna D’Errico, via Twitter:


Former Baywatch actress Donna D’Errico doesn’t have much of a track record as a journalism professor, social media savant or ethics guru.

But her blunder on Twitter and her forthright apology can teach volumes about how ridiculous it is to spread information when you have absolutely no idea whether or not it is true.

D’Errico was a key player in the latest case of Twitter burying someone who happened to be very much alive.

The actress tweeted that her San Fernando Valley neighbor Stephen Collins, the 7th Heaven star who has been hit with child molestation allegations, had committed suicide. “That guy from 7th Heaven lives right around the corner from me & just shot himself a few minutes ago,” she wrote.

But he hadn’t. Turns out the beleaguered actor wasn’t even home at the time.

D’Errico quickly deleted her tweet. And, very much to her credit, she called herself out in no uncertain terms. “I just tweeted out what I was being told by my neighbor who were on scene. I apologize for tweeting what I’d heard before confirming it,” she wrote.


 

Last updated:   9 October 2014