Emma Watson, known around the world for her portrayal of teenage brainbox Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter movies, has become the unwitting star of an internet hoax that is being spread rapidly across the internet.
The bogus reports claim that the actress has died in a drunken car crash.
Here is a typical report:
On July 24, 2009, Watson was en route to her mansion in Oxfordshire, England. Police footage captured her driving with speeds up to 80 miles per hour on very narrow roads. Oxfordshire paramedics received a 999 call at 12:22 p.m. (GMT), about an sportcar having crashed into a wall at a petrol station. At this point it was still unknown that the victim was indeed Emma Watson. Three minutes after the call got through, paramedics arrived at Watson's location. She was reportedly not breathing and the car was total loss. After 5 minutes the Oxfordshire Fire Department managed to get Watson out of her car. Resuscitation efforts continued en route to the Oxfordshire's Medical Center, and for an hour after arriving there at 1:45 p.m. (GMT). She was pronounced dead at 2:10 p.m. (GMT).
Another version of the story reads:
Los Angeles, CA- Millions are in shock after Emma Watson died overnight in a car crash. The 19 year-old actress, most famous for her roles in the Harry Potter films, was killed while being driven back to hotel after a screening of her latest movie, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, when a car collided with her vehicle. Watson is reported to have died at the scene. Her relatives have so far refused to comment, only quoting that they are "˜too distraught' to speak with the media.
Police are questioning witnesses about two men who reportedly fled the scene following the crash. The two men are said to be in their early twenties, one caucasian and the other hispanic. Anyone with information is urged to contact the authorities immediately.
Sadly a lot of people seem to be forwarding or reposting the "news", without checking a credible news site. Don't you think that if it was true it would be on the front page of BBC News Online?
I would recommend you avoid clicking on links to "news" stories about Emma Watson's death, as it is possible whoever is behind this hoax has malicious intent.
Of course, Emma Watson is far from the first celebrity to have had fake reports of her death circulated via the internet. Recently, bogus news stories spread that Jeff Goldblum had fallen to his death while filming - strangely from the very same cliff that previously claimed Tom Cruise's life!