Queen Elizabeth II is alive. But Hollywood Unlocked went viral on February 22 with a post to their Instagram account saying the longest-serving British monarch had passed away. The “Hollywood Unlocked exclusive” garnered thousands of likes and comments, and plenty of memes.
On Sunday, Buckingham Palace announced the Queen had tested positive for COVID and she is experiencing mild cold-like symptoms. As a 95-year-old who tested positive and is displaying symptoms, rumors around her health are bound to circulate. Earlier this year, the internet was fully convinced the Queen was secretly dead.
Enter Hollywood Unlocked: A tabloid-esque blog that typically reports on American culture and news, who likely knew (falsely) reporting on the Queen’s death would generate numerous headlines and clicks. CEO Jason Lee doubled down on the post, with a screenshot of his notes app reading, “1. I’ve never lied. 2. I’ve never been wrong. 3. I trust my sources. 4. I have yet to see an official statement from the palace saying otherwise.” After a Twitter account proclaiming to be Hollywood Unlocked tweeted an apology, seemingly placing blame on an intern, Lee responded, “Woke up to some fake account posting a retraction. We do not know that account and we have not retracted our story.”
When Queen Elizabeth II does pass away, it will not be announced through an entertainment Instagram post—that’s for certain. There’s an elaborate plan for what happens when the Queen dies already in place, which begins with the Queen’s Private Secretary informing the British Prime Minister.
Main Image: The News International