Former Bachelorette contestant Josh Seiter has confirmed that he is alive and well after a shocking death announcement was posted on his official Instagram account on Monday. The 36-year-old said that his account was hacked and that someone was playing a “cruel joke” on him and his fans.
A false statement from his family
On Monday, a post on Seiter’s Instagram account, attributed to his family, announced the death of the reality TV alum, who appeared during Kaitlyn Bristowe’s season in 2015 and has since worked as a model and adult film actor. The post claimed that Seiter had passed away due to complications from a drug overdose and asked for privacy and prayers.
The post was deleted shortly after, but not before it was picked up by several media outlets, including People, Us Weekly, the Daily Beast and NBC News. Some of them reported Seiter’s death as fact and noted his history of mental health struggles and previous suicide attempts, which he has spoken about publicly.
A video message from Seiter
On Tuesday, Seiter posted a video to his account in which he claimed the death announcement was a hoax and the result of an account hack. “Hey, guys. As you can see, I am alive and well. My account was hacked,” he said. “For the last 24 hours, I’ve been trying desperately to get into it. Somebody was playing a cruel joke and mocking my mental illness and the struggles I’ve gone through with depression and suicide attempts.”
He apologized for the pain and confusion caused by the false post and said he would do all he can with his team to identify who was behind it. He also thanked his fans for their support and love.
A similar hoax involving Lil Tay
The incident recalled the media frenzy and confusion over the alleged death earlier this month of Lil Tay, a 15-year-old former social media star who gained popularity on Instagram in 2018 as a braggadocious child rapper. In a similar fashion to Seiter, Lil Tay’s death was reported as fact in several media outlets after a statement attributed to her family appeared on her Instagram account, which had been largely dormant for several years.
However, Insider reported that her father, Christopher Hope, and former manager Harry Tsang could not confirm her death, fueling online speculation of a hoax. A day later, TMZ reported that Lil Tay was in fact alive, citing another statement from her and her brother, Jason Tian, who was also reportedly dead.
The cases of Seiter and Lil Tay have prompted another round of caution at taking social media statements at face value, especially when they involve sensitive topics such as death and mental health.