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• Dr. Sanjay Gupta is alive and appeared on CNN in the days after his alleged death.
• The death hoax in the Facebook post linked to a spam advertisement that falsely claims Gupta is the CEO of a company that sells CBD gummies.
• Similar advertisements relying on fake celebrity endorsement scams have been used to sell other cannabis products.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta, a neurosurgeon who serves as CNN’s chief medical correspondent, has fallen prey to a social media death hoax.
He is alive and well, despite a post announcing, "A Tragic End Today For Our Dr. Gupta, Viewers Feel Sad About Today’s News."
The post from Dec. 23 also linked to an article with the preview text, "End of the road for medical expert."
It was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
A CNN spokesperson for Gupta confirmed: "Thank goodness, Sanjay is alive and well."
There are other inaccuracies in the link the Facebook post shares.
Clicking on the link leads to what looks like a CNN article with the headline, "Big Pharma In Outrage Over Sanjay Gupta's Latest Business Venture - He Fires Back With This!"
A closer investigation of the site reveals that it is actually an advertisement.
Clicking on any links on the webpage — including links in the byline that appear to link to the "authors" of the article — leads to different sites selling various brands of CBD gummies. Similarly, clicking on the fake CNN Health logo or the site’s drop-down menu in an effort to navigate to a different page also leads to a site encouraging people to buy CBD gummies.
The fake article purports to have been written by CNN’s Maggie Fox and Elizabeth Cohen — who work for CNN as a senior editor and a senior medical correspondent, respectively. A search of articles written by Fox and Cohen did not turn up any articles of this sort — nor did a search of all CNN headlines.
The article attributes a number of quotes to Gupta. There is no evidence Gupta said them, or that he is connected to a company that makes CBD gummies.
The CNN spokesperson said there was "zero connection" Gupta and any CBD gummy company.
Our searches of the quotes and the article headline pulled up stories about other CBD product endorsement scams that featured advertisement articles with similar headlines that occasionally used the same quotes attributed to other celebrities.
Some cannabis product manufacturers have earned a reputation for falsely claiming their products have been endorsed by celebrities like Tom Hanks and Clint Eastwood. It appears Gupta has become their latest target.
A Facebook post claimed Gupta met "a tragic end today" on Dec. 23, 2021. He is still alive and has already appeared on CNN and MSNBC in 2022.
The post links to an advertisement for CBD gummies that falsely claims Gupta is the CEO of the company and has been promoting his products on television. There is no evidence Gupta has any connection to a CBD gummy company. Similar advertisements relying on fake celebrity endorsement scams have been used to sell other cannabis products.
We rate this claim False.
Facebook post, Dec. 23, 2021
MSNBC, "Dr. Sanjay Gupta On Living With Covid, Building Up Cognitive Reserves," Jan. 7, 2022
MSNBC’s Morning Joe tweet, Jan. 7, 2022
CNN, "Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Chief Medical Correspondent," accessed Jan. 10, 2021
Email exchange with CNN spokesperson Neel Khairzada, Jan. 10, 2021
CNN, "Elizabeth Cohen, Senior Medical Correspondent," accessed Jan. 10, 2021
Sanjay Gupta’s verified Twitter profile, accessed Jan. 10, 2021
Sanjay Gupta’s verified Instagram profile, accessed Jan. 10, 2021
Sanjay Gupta’s verified Facebook profile, accessed Jan. 10, 2021
HealthMJ, "Blake Shelton CBD Oil Endorsement Scam Controversy Arises," Aug. 10, 2020
The Wrap, "Clint Eastwood Sues CBD Retailers Over Endorsements He Says Are Fake," July 22, 2020
Leafie, "Russell Brand is latest celebrity to be used in fake CBD endorsement scam," Sept. 14, 2021
Today, "Tom Hanks slams 'intentional hoax' ad that shows him endorsing CBD company," Jan. 21, 2020
New York Times, "Clint Eastwood Wins $6.1 Million CBD Lawsuit," Oct. 3, 2021
PolitiFact, "Don’t fall for fake news headlines about this pastor selling CBD," June 10, 2021
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