We found the following claim on the social media sites Twitter and Reddit, as well as on multiple websites:
The posts seem to show a clip from 27 November of a few Korean social media personalities talking in a group. One of them then appears to turn to look at something behind him while rising from his seat before collapsing. Shortly after, the video is cut by one of his acquaintances.
Many of the social media posts referencing the event suggest that the streamer died, with the Twitter post above insinuating that the streamer’s ‘head turn’ is common behaviour preceding sudden death, and that it could ultimately be attributed to Covid-19 vaccines.
Sudden Death, Free Respawn
When we investigated the provenance of the video, we found that the social media posts and web articles reporting on the death neglected to include details of the streamer’s identity—an indicator that the reports may be of dubious nature.
Nevertheless, with further sleuthing, we found that the individual involved was a 33-year-old streamer with 736,000 subscribers named Park Jung-Kyu, alias 케이 (K).
Thereafter, it became evident that K was not, in fact, dead, as he had continued to upload videos on his YouTube channel, most recently at the time of writing one on 4 December, a week after he was said to have died.
In addition, K had written a post on his page on AfreecaTV, a Korea-based streaming service, specifically addressing the video of him collapsing. In the post, K clarified that after being conveyed to hospital, he was informed that he was likely to be suffering from epilepsy.
We were also unable to find any evidence that K’s ‘head turn’ was a sign of impending sudden death. The movement may instead have been caused by hallucinations, which have coincided previously with epileptic episodes.
K said that he would be undergoing further EEG and MRI tests to verify his condition, and he also stated in his post that he tested negative for Covid-19 at the hospital.
It is therefore false that the streamer died suddenly while filming.
Given the outlandish nature of these rumours, we also decided to take a look at if there had been any similar claims recently.
In doing so, we found that the claims that K had died suddenly coincided with several other allegations of sudden death originating from the movie ‘Died Suddenly’ by Stew Peters.
According to Lead Stories, a US-based factchecking organisation, both the movie, released on 21 November, and its trailer, released on 31 October, were littered with spurious ‘evidence’ of sudden death events. These, according to the headline on the movie’s website, were evidence that ‘healthy adults are dropping dead all across the globe’ due to mandatory Covid-19 vaccines.
The motivation, according to the movie, is a conspiracy by governing ‘elites’ to ‘limit freedoms’, ‘push radical policies’ and artificially control the global population by precipitating a large number of deaths.
The movie incorporated several clips of people losing consciousness and collapsing, like K. This included one of the college basketball player Keyontae Jackson, who collapsed on court while playing a game on 12 December, 2020. Though the film suggested vaccines were to blame, vaccines were not available at the time of the event.
Examples of vaccinated individuals dying suddenly were also presented in a montage of screenshots of search engine results, though a closer look by Lead Stories revealed that the articles reporting the deaths had no mention of vaccines, and were in one case the result of a ‘tragic fall’, and in another, a car crash.
Lead Stories also pointed to a number of celebrity health crises that were attributed to vaccines by the film, though there was no evidence that vaccines were responsible. This included Justin Bieber’s diagnosis with Ramsay Hunt Syndrome, which causes eye twitching, as well as the sudden death of the sister of Megyn Kelly, a popular American talk show host.
While it is not possible at this point to ascertain if the false allegations are malicious, it does appear that vaccine-sceptic communities have begun to coalesce around instances of individuals collapsing, as well as health problems among celebrities, in an effort to substantiate their claims that vaccines are detrimental to human health.
When scrutinised, however, there appears to be little in common among these sudden deaths other than the heightened interest.