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There’s no evidence that anyone ever died at a Michael Jackson concert

A viral Facebook post revives an old evidence-free rumor about deaths at a Michael Jackson concert to complicate criticism of Travis Scott over the 2021 Astroworld music festival tragedy. Let’s take a look at the facts.

A Facebook post that says, “Y’all Mad @ Travis Scott For Not Stopping The Show Cause People Was Passing Out But Michael Jackson Stood Still & Posed & Watched People Faint & Get Taken Out On Stretchers Without Saying A Single Word, Let That Sink In.” The post continues, “Edit: 23 People Died From Being Trampled At MJ Concert… Triple The Amount Of Travis’s.” The post also includes a photo of Michael Jackson on stage. The News Literacy Project has added a label that says “FALSE.”
Twenty-three people were not trampled to death at a Michael Jackson concert.
There is no evidence anyone ever died at one of Jackson’s concerts.
More than 1,500 people were injured — 40 of whom were hospitalized — at one of Jackson’s concerts in Liverpool, England, in 1988.
Fainting was common at Michael Jackson concerts.
One Jackson expert told USA Today that the artist’s team implemented crowd control measures in the 1990s to prevent serious audience injuries.

NewsLit takeaway

Evidence-free claims tied to controversial current events are always suspect and should not be shared until they’ve been verified — especially when they include a red-flag phrase such as, “let that sink in.” This is just one of several false claims that circulated in the wake of the fatal crowd surge during Scott’s performance at the 2021 Astroworld music festival in Houston. Some sought to shift blame away from Scott, while others tried to use the deaths to push COVID-19 misinformation and other falsehoods. According to Snopes, this particular rumor about Jackson has appeared on clickbait websites since at least 2019.


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