This morning 3AW entertainment reporter Peter Ford reported some “sadly breaking news” to Neil Mitchell that former Charlie’s Angels star “Jaclyn Smith is in a critical condition in hospital … in what I believe is Honduras … after a failed suicide attempt … involving a gun.” (LISTEN HERE):

Peter Ford: You can’t help but notice that only a few weeks ago, of course, Farrah Fawcett passed away, they were very close. I mean I can’t tell you what’s obviously has gone on, I wasn’t there … but Jaclyn Smith had established a very good career for herself — don’t think for a second this was somebody who was washed up and depressed because of that … throughout the nineties she really was the queen of the telemovies.

She was here in Melbourne probably only two years ago … selling a range of sheets … she also has a range of wigs … she’s become a very productive business lady. This is very sad and shocking news to know that she is now in a critical condition in hospital.

Neil Mitchell: Yes and when you say suicide attempt and gun I would assume she is very, very ill …

Ford: the reports are saying it’s believed suicide … but you’d think if she is going to survive it will be presented as some sort of accident. But it’s sad and it’s shocking.

But then something rather embarrassing happened. Just like Jeff Goldblum before her, Smith chose the celebrity death denial vehicle of choice, Twitter, to tweet to the world that she was not, in fact, dead, or dying, or in Honduras for that matter:

@JaclynSmithL: Jaclyn is safe and home with her family. She is not in Honduras. It is a lie.

Celebrity death experts TMZ (the same website that broke the news of Heath Ledger and Michael Jackson’s death to the world) led with the headline: ” Jaclyn Smith — Not Dead. Not Injured. Not Amused“:

There are several reports popping up all over the place claiming the “Charlie’s Angel” was shot in her home in Honduras — but she’s not even in Honduras … so, by process of elimination … we have concluded she could not have been shot there.

Plus, her publicist Jay Schwartz just told us this, “She is alive and well in Los Angeles … I spoke to her this morning.”

Celebrity gossip blogger Perez Hilton had plastered the “suicide attempt” all over his website. In an ill-advised moment to suffer a first and last attack of cynicim, Hilton is now infamous for not believing that Michael Jackson was actually dead and for “breaking” the news that Fidel Castro had died.

In his exclamation mark-laden report, Hilton linked to this story from Honduras:

Sandra Franklin, doble de Jaclyn Smith en la serie Los Angeles de Charlie, esposa del productor de la serie, resultó herida de bala en Roatán, pero se recupera en San Pedro Sula.

Originalmente, y según medios radiales, se pensaba que la propia Jaclyn Smith era quien había resultado herida, pero luego se corroboró el hecho.

A quick translation provided by our in-house Spanish speaker Amber Jamieson shows that Hilton’s Spanish is a little shaky:

Sandra Franklin, Jaclyn Smith’s double in the series Charlies Angels and wife of the series producer, has suffered a gunshot injury in Roatán, but is recovering in San Pedro Sula.

Cue Ford’s Wilkins-like backpedal live on air, ably assisted by Mitchell’s ‘Stefanovic’ defence (LISTEN HERE):

Neil Mitchell: OK, we have good news, and we have an apology … Peter, what’s happened?

Peter Ford: Well I think she’s the fifth celebrity who’s been prematurely killed off in the last month.

In a masterful piece of passing the buck, Ford continued:

Peter Ford: This is certainly becoming a regular occurrence and certainly a cautionary lesson for myself and others to beware … because she is twittering … twittering does have some good use after all … well she’s not personally twittering but her twitter account has revealed she is safe and home … it’s all a lie

Neil Mitchell: So it’s another hoax?

Ford: It’s another hoax! You wonder where these things actually start!

Don’t you just.

Ford: … I expressed some surprise before because she seemed always to be a very together person … and as I indicated, she’d really morphed herself into a very successful business woman … and there was every indication that she was very happy in her life … so I was taken aback that she of all people would be the subject of a story like that.

Mitchell: So it has been reported around the US … Tom Hanks was another one wasn’t he?

Ford: Yes, Tom Hanks was the other week, but there’s been about five in the past six weeks … you can’t help that it has something to do with this Twitter world but in this case, the Twitter world is confirming that the story isn’t correct.

Mitchell: … our apologies for that, that’s an awful thing to be hoaxed by … we’re not the only ones though, it’s half of the United States at the moment apparently.

No word from Ford or Mitchell as to when a reporter, and “half of the United States” should and shouldn’t choose to rely on Twitter world for information.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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