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Bill McCarthy
By Bill McCarthy June 12, 2018

Clickbait headline wrongly blames Clintons for Anthony Bourdain's death

A clickbait headline on Facebook falsely claimed CNN’s Anthony Bourdain was killed by Bill and Hillary Clinton. This is an unsubstantiated, ridiculous allegation by conspiracy theorists who have tried to link the Clintons to criminal activity for years.

"Investigators: Anthony Bourdain was killed by Clinton operatives," said a June 10, 2018, headline from, a website with a history of peddling falsehoods online. The report cited a similar article from News Media Central, an "alternative media" site that considers itself "free from establishment influence," according to its about page.

Facebook flagged this story as part of its efforts to combat false news and misinformation on Facebook's News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)’s story said Bourdain, who died June 8, 2018, "had been harassed and threatened by Hillary Clinton operatives just weeks before he was found dead" and added that "investigators" were looking into the matter. As evidence of a link between Bourdain’s death and the Clintons, the report pointed to two tweets from Bourdain.

The first tweet, posted Oct. 11, 2017, criticized Hillary Clinton over an interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria during which she said she was "appalled" to discover that there was "a different side" to her longtime donor Harvey Weinstein, a film producer who was accused by several women — including Bourdain’s girlfriend, Asia Argento — of sexual assault. Bourdain called Clinton’s response "uninspiring," and many Clinton supporters responded on Twitter, including former Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon.

In the second tweet, sent May 2, 2018, Bourdain said he was "in no way (a Hillary Clinton) fan" and that he had "been on the receiving end of her operatives’ wrath" before. The Twitter thread started when Bourdain shared a Rolling Store story about Donald Trump attorney Michael Cohen, writing, "The glorious career of ‘Fast’ Mikey Cohen. Nothing to see here, folks. Totally legit."

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The report suggested that these tweets show the Clintons as likely responsible for Bourdain’s death.

The report, like other Clinton-related conspiracies before it, crumbles under the microscope. The story’s only sources are alleged investigators — all unnamed — who were said to be looking into Bourdain’s death and also whether he had been planning to air an exposé of a pedophile ring, a separate claim that Snopes already debunked.

Sean Adl-Tabatabai, editor-in chief at and author of the false report, told us the investigators referenced were "online sleuths who dug up Anthony’s tweets and joined the dots." He also pointed again to Bourdain’s May tweet as proof of the Clintons’ involvement.

We found no evidence that the Clintons played any role in Bourdain’s death. Bourdain died by suicide and was found unresponsive in his hotel room by a close friend, CNN reported.

We rate this statement Pants on Fire!

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Pants on Fire
"Investigators: Anthony Bourdain was killed by Clinton operatives."
in a blog
Sunday, June 10, 2018

Our Sources, "Investigators: Anthony Bourdain Was Killed By Clinton Operatives," June 20, 2018.

News Media Central, "CNN Host Who Was Bullied On Twitter By Clinton Staffer Hangs Self," June 8, 2018.

Twitter, Anthony Bourdain, October 11, 2017.

Twitter, Anthony Bourdain, May 2, 2018.

CNN, "CNN’s Anthony Bourdain dead at 61," June 8, 2018.

The Washington Post, "Anthony Bourdain calls Hillary Clinton’s Weinstein response ‘shameful,’" October 12, 2017.

Snopes, "Was Anthony Bourdain About to Expose an Elite Pedophile Ring?" June 9, 2018.

Email interview with Sean Adl-Tabatabai, editor-in-chief at, June 11, 2018.

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Clickbait headline wrongly blames Clintons for Anthony Bourdain's death

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