A viral prank has divided social media users for tricking unwitting parents that their favourite celebrity has died.
Widely known as the “celebrity death prank”, the format consists of someone covertly filming another person, usually a parental figure, while telling them that a famous figure has passed away.
The trend gained traction around the Christmas period and continued towards the final moments of 2022.
In its earliest stages, the videos were commended by many for their “comedic value”.
However, the prank format has also widely been considered distasteful, with plenty of fans calling for the trend to end.
A substantial amount of social media users have considered the trend to have unofficially “over” after Slater Vance, the 16-year-old son of actors Angela Bassett and Courtney B Vance, told them that Michael B Jordan had died aged 35.
With Jordan and Bassett being castmates on the Black Panther films, Vance’s prank was particularly criticised as it involved a celebrity that his mother knew personally.
Vance issued an apology on Saturday (31 December) and the video has since been deleted.
The Independent has contacted a representative for Angela Bassett for comment.
“I loved to prank my mom when I was a kid, but I’m not feeling these celeb death pranks,” reads one critique of the trend, while another person wrote: “Those celebrity death prank videos can go to hell.”
“Sorry to be a party pooper, but I do not like this ‘so and so has passed away at so and so age’ prank that is becoming a thing on TikTok,” tweeted another. “Please, why are we speaking that into existence and putting that in the atmosphere? I personally do not play when it comes to death.”
One critique for Bassett’s son in particular reads: “The ‘celebrity prank death’ is becoming more and more disgusting and it is so extra cruel to prank Angela Bassett with Michael B Jordan’s ‘death’ when she knows him personally and just lost Chadwick Boseman two years ago. People talking about ‘their reactions are funny’, the hell?”
At the time of writing, the #celebritydeathprank hashtag has 180.4m views on TikTok.