FACT CHECK: Did a man kill himself because a main character in the Star Wars VII film is black?

star wars suicide

Claim: A man killed himself because a main character in the Star Wars VII film is black.


Examples: [Collected via e-mail, October 2015]

Is this true? I live in Charlotte and can’t find anything else confirming this. Apparently it’s getting passed around on social media.

Is this real? Man commits suicide because of Stars wars main character being black.

Origins: On 19 October 2015, the fake news site NewsWatch33 published an article titled “Man Commits Suicide Over Star Wars Main Character Being Black #BoycottStarWarsVII” (the headline playing on the #BoycottStarWarsVII hashtag that was popular on social media sites at the time, itself a probable hoax.

The article reported that a 53-year-old man named “Bobby-Jo Garrison” left a suicide note objecting to “white people [not being wanted] in Star Wars,” a note that included the phrase “Make America White Again”:

According to authorities, when the EMS and police arrived at the scene, Mr. Garrison was pronounced dead. Officer Jenkins retrieved the suicide note from Mrs. Garrison which mentioned an issue Garrison had with the main character of Star Wars being black.

Reportedly, part of the letter read, “If white people aren’t wanted in Star Wars, then our money must not be either. I’m tired of seeing N**GERS taking over great white films. I can not live in a world being overran by Blacks. Sorry Sarah … Another part of letter read, Boycott Star Wars VII because instead of using the force, they use affirmative action.

There is no truth to this story: NewsWatch33 is a fake news site camouflaged as a local television news outlet. Previous hoaxes issued by NewsWatch33 include false reports that supporters raised $4 million for the defense of Charleston shooting suspect Dylann Roof, that a girl was electrocuted by her iPhone’s earbuds, that Jay-Z and Beyonce purchased the rights to the Confederate flag, that the federal government impregnated inexpensive cigars with listening devices, that fifteen days of darkness would occur in November 2015, and that an xBox disc killed a gamer upon its ejection.

Last updated: 20 October 2015

Originally published: 20 October 2015