On Oct. 28, 2023, news broke that Emmy-Award nominated actor Matthew Perry had been found dead in his Los Angeles home at the age of 54. Best known for playing the character Chandler Bing on the popular TV sitcom “Friends,” tributes to Perry poured in from fans and fellow celebrities, including his “Friends” co-stars, Grammy-Award winning singer Adele, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
False celebrity gossip videos about Perry’s death also spread on social media accounts on multiple platforms. We found videos that had spread false information had millions of views across platforms like TikTok and YouTube.
In this article, we break down the two main types of false videos that had spread in the aftermath of Perry’s death, as well as state what we know about Perry’s death and various reactions to his passing at the time of this writing.
False Celebrity Reactions to Perry’s Death
One main type of false celebrity gossip video claimed to show celebrity reactions to his passing.
One such video posted by YouTube celebrity gossip channel Drama Bay was titled, “5 MINUTES AGO: Jennifer Aniston CAUGHT BREAKING DOWN Over Mathew Perry Passing Away.” The video’s thumbnail claimed Aniston — who was one of Perry's co-stars on "Friends" — had said, “It is not acceptable,” presumably about Perry’s death. The video had over 109,000 views on YouTube, but took off on TikTok. Three posts that contained parts of the YouTube video garnered over 113,000 views, 1.5 million views, and 1.1 million views respectively at the time of this writing.
Other YouTube channels also made videos claiming to show celebrity reactions to Perry’s death. For example, YouTube channel Viral Vision made several such videos claiming to show celebrities reacting to his death, including one video that claimed actor Keanu Reeves had done so. (Perry previously said he would remove mentions of Reeves from his 2022 memoir “Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing” after he questioned why Reeves was still alive when other actors like River Phoenix, Heath Ledger, and Chris Farley had died.)
However, these videos weren't rooted in facts. Aniston released a joint statement to People magazine with other “Friends” co-stars Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, and David Schwimmer that said they were “utterly devastated” by the loss of Perry. However, there was no evidence that Aniston had been “caught breaking down” over her co-star's death.
We also could find no evidence that Reeves had spoken publicly about Perry’s death. No credible publication reported the actor had commented on what happened.
For background, we previously fact-checked another Viral Vision video that claimed to show reactions from the cast of “Friends” about Perry’s death, which we called “bogus.” At the time of this writing, that video had over 1 million views on YouTube.
False Claims of Further Information Revealed by Celebrities About Perry’s Death
The other main type of false celebrity gossip video that spread claimed various celebrities had revealed additional information about Perry’s death.
One video posted by YouTube celebrity gossip channel CELEB LIVE was titled, “Jennifer Aniston REVEALS The DARK TRUTH Behind Matthew Perry's DE*TH!” The video had just over 1,500 views on YouTube, but went viral on TikTok, where one post that contained part of the YouTube video garnered 4.3 million views at the time of this writing.
Another YouTube celebrity gossip channel, This Happened, posted a video titled, “SCARY New Details On Matthew Perry’s Death In A Hot Tub (Friends Cast Reacts).” The video’s thumbnail claimed Aniston had said, “Not an accident,” presumably about Perry’s death. The video had over 164,000 views on YouTube, and we also found posts that contained the video on TikTok and Facebook.
Other YouTube channels posted videos that claimed various celebrities had revealed additional information about Perry’s death. One video from the aforementioned YouTube channel Viral Vision claimed Schwimmer had revealed “shocking details” about Perry’s death, while another video claimed Perry’s father, actor John Bennett Perry, had revealed “shocking new details” about the death.
YouTube celebrity gossip channel, Just In, also made a video focused on John Bennett Perry, claiming he had "blasted" police for lying about his son's death. One TikTok post that contained part of the YouTube video had over 247,000 views at the time of this writing.
These videos weren't factually accurate. The New York Times reported it could take months before the cause of Perry’s death was established, as it would take time for the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner to examine evidence and conduct a toxicology screening. There is no evidence that any of the various celebrities mentioned in the videos found on social media platforms had revealed any further information about his death.
The false celebrity gossip videos about Perry’s death we covered in this report were all false. They apparently attempted to take advantage of people’s grief over his unexpected death for views and comments.
The videos often attempted to link their claims to celebrities Perry was connected to over the years, like Aniston and Reeves. They contained a misleading title with a mix of old and unrelated news, false claims and other emotionally charged moments that likely were meant to elicit responses in the comments. Such videos often end up with hundreds or thousands of comments from users who indicated that they had believed the misleading information presented in the clips.
We've previously fact-checked whether Perry had been accurately quoted in viral posts about how he wanted to be remembered after his death, which you can read here.