In a shocking turn of events (read that with sarcasm), a viral video spread by conspiracy theorists that claims to show a "crisis actor" faking their COVID death has turned out to be a giant hoax. Who could have seen this coming?
The footage, which has spread wildly on conspiracy theorists' favorite platform Facebook, shows what COVID deniers claim is a staged mass grave in Germany of COVID-19 patients in body bags. In one of the body bags, a person can be seen moving around inside, revealing that the whole thing is fake.
Except for--surprise!--literally every detail of that is wrong, as a bevy of fact-checkers quickly revealed--not that it has made any difference to the conspiracy theorists, of course.
See the video below.
The video is titled with a truly absurd caption.
"Crisis actor in Germany forgets he’s filming on TV🙄"
Every word of that caption is untrue.
As fact checks from everyone from PolitiFact to the Associated Press have revealed, the footage was filmed by Austrian news outlet Oe24 in Ballhausplatz in Vienna--which is very much not in Germany. And the scene is not a mass grave of COVID-19 deaths but a protest--and one that doesn't even pertain to the pandemic for that matter.
The protestors were demonstrating against Austria's climate change policies by laying out 49 body bags to represent the predicted number of people who will die every day as a result of climate change. This form of death-themed protest, known as a "die-in," has been around since at least the 1960s.
As for the guy moving around in his body bag, he may be an actor by trade for all we know but he is in the body bag because he's a protestor.
Why anyone trying to fake a mass grave would go to the trouble of actually paying scores of actors to lay still in body bags when they could just, you know, fill them with old issues of USA Today or whatever for absolutely free is anyone's guess.
But spoiler alert: This definitely hasn't occurred to the brain trust constantly telling us all to "do your own research."
Heeding their own advice for about 30 seconds would have cleared this up quite easily, but naturally they couldn't be bothered--and people clapped back hard on social media.
As of this writing, both the Facebook post that began this nonsensical conspiracy theory and the account that created it are still live on Facebook, despite the social media giant's repeated promises to do more to combat the constant spread of disinformation on the platform.