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• Macaulay Culkin is not dead. He recently acted in a television series and has been videoed and photographed in public several times recently, including in the past week.
• The claim appears to be based on a false 2014 rumor about Culkin’s death that was debunked.
Actor Macaulay Culkin was not dead in 2014, when the false rumor of his demise first surfaced. And he was not dead when the debunked claim reappeared in November 2021.
A viral TikTok video shows footage of Culkin walking in a fashion show Nov. 2 in Los Angeles. A narrator asks who the person is because, he says, Culkin died from a heroin overdose. Culkin, 41, rose to fame as a child actor in "Home Alone," the 1990 Christmas movie that became a classic.
The video appeared on Facebook, where it was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
Evidence does not support the claim that Culkin died. He recently starred in a television show, "American Horror Stories, Red Tide." In October he tweeted about the new "Home Alone" reboot on Disney+. In early November, he was featured in the L.A. fashion show; and a week ago, he was photographed at a Los Angeles Rams NFL game with his partner.
The TikTok video shows Culkin walking in an outdoor Gucci runway show, and a text overlay says, "Home Alone died in my timeline, Mandela effect." The caption includes the hashtags #conspiracies and #mandelaeffect.
The video’s narrator asks, "Who the hell is that walking? Because this man literally died from a heroin overdose." The narrator then moves to one side to display a screenshot of an online search for "Macaulay Culkin death," with the top search result recounting details of Culkin’s supposed death on Nov. 6, 2014.
The information in the screenshot is excerpted from a 2014 Snopes story that debunked the claim about Culkin’s death. But the Facebook video does not reveal that Snopes rated the information false.
The 2014 false claim about Culkin’s death followed other rumors in 2012 that he was addicted to heroin and oxycodone. Culkin has said he used recreational drugs but did not have a serious drug-use problem.
The video references the Mandela effect, which occurs when "a piece of misinformation is propagated as fact by enough people that it becomes commonly accepted," the New York Times reported when it used the term as its crossword-puzzle theme in 2019. "The term refers to Nelson Mandela, the news of whose death was somehow memorized by people all over the world as occurring at various times, from his imprisonment in the 1980s to the middle of the 2000s (he died on Dec. 5, 2013)."
A Facebook post claims Macaulay Culkin died from a heroin overdose.
Culkin is alive. He recently acted in a television series and has been videoed and photographed in public several times recently, including in a week before the video circulated on Facebook. The claim appears to be based on a debunked 2014 rumor about Culkin’s death.
We rate this claim Pants on Fire!
Facebook post, Nov. 11, 2021
Instagram post, Nov. 9, 2021
New York Times, "Don’t Quote Me," June 8, 2019
Reel Chicago, "Macaulay Culkin living life to its fullest," Nov. 12, 2021
Snopes, "Macaulay Culkin Dead?," Nov. 8, 2014
Twitter post, Oct. 13, 2021
Vanity Fair, "Jared Leto and Macaulay Culkin Walk in the New Gucci Runway Show," Nov. 3, 2021
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