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 January 19

by Carolina


If you or someone you know may be struggling with suicidal thoughts, you can call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) any time day or night, or chat online.

The claim: Avicii, Chester Bennington, Anthony Bourdain and Chris Cornell all died by suicide while working on the film ‘Silent Children’

A year-old conspiracy that recently gained traction on social media is linking four celebrities’ deaths to a long-abandoned film project.

“Isn’t it interesting that Avicii, Chester Bennington, Anthony Bourdain, and Chris Cornel (sic) all committed suicide while working on a documentary called The Silent Children about wide spread pedhilia/trafficking,” reads the text of a Facebook post shared Jan. 10. “But the project was canceled after Cornel’s death.”

The post generated over 800 interactions in less than three days. Several other social media users shared this post as well.

The claim is wrong on several fronts.

DJ-producer Avicii (professional name for Tim Bergling), singers Bennington and Cornell and chef Bourdain played no part in the production of “Silent Children,” as independent fact-checking organizations have noted.

The celebrities were not related to the film project in any manner, a spokesperson said. Their deaths occurred after the project was already shelved.

“Silent Children” was abandoned five years ago for issues unrelated to the celebrities.

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USA TODAY reached out to the social media user who shared the claim for comment.

Celebrities were never part of film

Arthur Gorson, the film’s spokesperson, told USA TODAY there is no truth to the claim. 

“We never had any contact (with the people mentioned in the post),” Gorson said. “We never had any emails. We’ve never reached out for funding to those people. So there never was any legitimate connection.”

None of the celebrities named in the Facebook post appear in the credits of the 2011 “Silent Children” promo video uploaded to YouTube, either.

The assertion that there is a link between the film and the deaths of Avicii, Bennington, Bourdain and Cornell is also baseless, Gorson said. 

The celebrities each died by suicide at different times, not while the film was in production, as the user claims.

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The Associated Press reported that Avicii died April 20, 2018. Bennington died July 20, 2017, according to an autopsy report. USA TODAY reported that Bourdain died June 8, 2018. Cornell died May 8, 2017, according to an autopsy report.

“Silent Children” was supposed to be a documentary about child trafficking, especially in countries where the authorities might have been in league with the traffickers, Gorson said.

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The film faced funding issues and was abandoned in 2017 – before the deaths of Avicii and Bourdain.

The company behind the film, JellyBeane Productions LLC, was dissolved on Jan. 9, 2017. This occurred before Cornell’s death, another fact the claim gets wrong.

“We decided to stop the project where it was and that had nothing to do with Chris Cornell ever,” Gorson said.

Our rating: False

Based on our research, we rate FALSE the claim that Avicii, Bennington, Bourdain and Cornell all died by suicide while working on the film “Silent Children.” The celebrities had no connection to the documentary whatsoever, a spokesperson said. At least two of their deaths occurred after the project was already shelved.

Our fact-check sources:

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Original posted at www.usatoday.com

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