Social media sites are buzzing about a viral quote attributed to Morgan Freeman about the media sensationalizing the Sandy Hook shooting tragedy, but the actor is calling the quote a hoax.
"Flip on the news and watch how we treat the Batman theater shooter and the Oregon mall shooter like celebrities," the purported quote says, accompanied by a photo of Freeman. "Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris are household names, but do you know the name of a single *victim* of Columbine?"
"Any articles or news stories yet that focus on the victims and ignore the killer's identity? None that I've seen yet," Freeman is quoted. "Because they don't sell. So congratulations, sensationalist media, you've just lit the fire for someone to top this and knock off a day care center or a maternity ward next."
The quote has garnered more than a million shares and more than 600,000 likes on Facebook, and users have left generally positive comments like "one of the smartest men in the world, he is so correct" and "Well said Mr. Freeman."
Likewise, a screenshot of the post that originated on Facebook is circulating on Twitter with the hashtag "turnoffthenews."
Freeman said he never made the viral statement, calling it a hoax.
His camp has not released a statement on Facebook or Twitter, but Stan Rosenfield, his publicist, dispelled the rumor to various media outlets.
"Morgan neither made statements or posted those statements. We are trying to find out who did, but they did not originate from him," Rosenfield told E! News.
Reddit users discovered a long Facebook post by "Mark" of Vancouver that is identical to Freeman's "statement," MSN reports. After many of his Facebook friends liked the post, he later commented on his own post: "If I know the Internet, someone will attribute the quote to Morgan Freeman or Betty White and it'll go viral," and someone actually took the idea and ran with it.
The comment has no context, containing no information about when he said it or to which media outlet, which suggests inauthenticity.
The comment criticizes CNN for use of the term "body count," reasoning that the term desensitizes Americans to the murders and could incite more. The comment also condemns Fox for "plastering the killer's face on all their reports for hours."
The Oscar-winning "Million Dollar Baby" and "Dark Knight" star received the prestigious American Film Institute Life Time Achievement Award and the Cecil B. DeMille Award from the Foreign Press Association and is known for his distinguished voice.
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