Mark McGrath NOT Dead: Death Hoax Stunt Claims Sugar Ray Singer Shot and Killed
Mark McGrath is NOT dead. On Thursday, a press release announced that the former Sugar Ray singer and current “Hot Package” star had been shot to death on the show’s set. Apparently intended as some kind of publicity stunt, a lot of people began to tweet about the rumor as though it were real.
Here’s what media outlets saw in their email inboxes: “BREAKING NEWS: MARK McGRATH IS DEAD.” The message, sent by a marketing firm, announced: “Musician Mark McGrath has died at the age of 46. McGrath was on set filming the second season of entertainment show Hot Package, when he was confronted by a masked gunman and shot several times. The former Sugar Ray frontman died in the arms of his co-host Derrick Beckles on the Hollywood set of the show.”
As though the “news” were not already suspicious, the note instructed: “In honor of Mr. McGrath’s legacy, his team is asking in liu (sic) of flowers, fans post a Sugar Ray Selfie, holding a packet of sugar over their heart. #RIPMARKMCGRATH.”
If you’re wondering why law enforcement sources and legitimate news outlets haven’t reported on a celebrity being shot dead in a public place, it’s because the story is made up.
A Sugar Ray booking agent tells Gossip Cop the story is a “hoax.” Meanwhile, McGrath’s network is trying to distance itself from the stunt. “This press release did not come from Adult Swim and is not part of any network PR or marketing campaign for the show Hot Package,” an Adult Swim rep tells Gossip Cop.
UPDATE: In a statement released Thursday evening, the marketing firm behind the stunt took “full responsibility” for its poor choice. “Please be advised that Mark McGrath and his team have had no involvement in or knowledge of the media alerts sent earlier this morning,” says the company. “Mr. McGrath is a guest on the show, and his death is merely a plot line in the premiere episode. PRISMATICS take full responsibility for any confusion.”