On Oct. 28, 2023, YouTube channel Viral Vision published a video that claimed the cast of popular TV sitcom “Friends” had reacted publicly to the death of Emmy Award-nominated actor Matthew Perry, who played character Chandler Bing on the show. However, the video's claim was false at that time, and most of the statements attributed to Perry's co-stars were fabricated.
Perry's death in his Los Angeles home at the age of 54 was announced earlier that same day. Multiple news outlets published full obituaries detailing the actor's life, including The New York Times and The Associated Press. The exact cause of death was unknown at the time.
The YouTube video was titled "'Friends' Cast Reacts To Matthew Perry Death." The thumbnail image bore an alleged quote from “Friends” actor Jennifer Aniston, who supposedly said, "This was no accident." (presumably about Perry’s death). We found no evidence she had said this. The video had been viewed over 812,000 times on Viral Vision’s YouTube channel at the time of this writing.
None of the "Friends" actors mentioned in the video had yet made a public statement when it was uploaded, except for actor Maggie Wheeler, whose words in her actual Instagram post bore no resemblance to the those attributed to her in the video. Details of Perry's life, such as his age when he died, were also presented inaccurately in the video, which began: "Matthew Perry has unexpectedly passed away at the age of 56, and the cast of “Friends” has reacted to this heartbreaking news. Here are their reactions." It went on to quote alleged public statements about Perry’s death by “Friends” actors Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, David Schwimmer, and Wheeler.
The video also circulated on TikTok, with one post garnering over 3.6 million views at the time of this writing. We also found the video posted on Facebook, with one post having 184,000 views at the time of this writing.
At the bottom of the description under the YouTube video, a disclaimer said:
The content presented on this channel, "Viral Vision", is intended for entertainment purposes only. The views, opinions, and information expressed in our videos are based on rumors, gossip, and publicly available information. They should not be taken as factual or definitive statements about any individual or event. We make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, or suitability of the information discussed. We respect the rights of individuals and entities. If any content is found to be misleading, false, or offensive, please contact us directly, and we will take appropriate action. We do not intend to harm, defame, or malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, individual, or anyone. Additionally, the views and opinions expressed in our videos and channel do not reflect the official policy or position of YouTube or any of its affiliates. We are not responsible for any actions taken by viewers based on the information provided in our videos. By viewing our content, you agree not to hold us liable for any misinformation, harm, or damages resulting from the consumption of our content. Always remember to think critically and verify information before accepting it as fact.
As we've seen with many similar AI-generated videos across multiple "celebrity gossip" YouTube channels, this clip was posted with a misleading title and contained a mixture of old and unrelated news, false claims and other emotionally charged moments that likely were meant to elicit responses from viewers. Such videos often end up with hundreds or thousands of comments from users, some of whom indicate that they believe the misleading information presented in them.
We've also previously fact-checked other false celebrity gossip rumors that spread from Viral Vision, like the false claim that musician and actor Willow Smith had "bashed" her mother, actor Jada Pinkett Smith, for "humiliating" her father, actor Will Smith.