One of the newest TikTok trends has children pranking their parents into thinking that a celebrity –usually ones beloved to their parents– has died and recording their reaction to the fake news. Many have called the trend harmful and insensitive to the famous entertainers and their families. Like many teens, Angela Bassett’s 16-year-old son Slater Vance jumped on the trend and due to his mother’s high-profile status and emotional reaction, he has faced severe backlash.
In the since-deleted video, Bassett clutches at her chest after hearing the fake news of Michael B. Jordan’s death, while his father, Courtney B. Vance, refuses to believe it.
“I apologize to Michael B. Jordan’s entire family, his extended family, and him directly as he is an idol of mine,” Slater said. “Taking part in a trend like this is completely disrespectful. I don’t wish any bad ramifications upon his family nor my parents as they deserve none of the backlash.”
Slater added: “I own this was a mistake. I hope this can be a teaching lesson to anyone who uses social media as a tool and a source of entertainment to truly understand that your actions can have consequences that extend beyond you.”
Angela Bassett and Michael B. Jordan were costars in the Marvel film Black Panther and most recently in its sequel Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Courtney works with Jordan as well and as they are both executive producing the show 61st Street on AMC.
Grammy-winner Finneas O’Connell has encouraged others to stop the harmful prank.
“I haven’t laughed once at any of your videos of you telling your parents somebody died when they didn’t actually die,” O’Connell who often collaborates with his sister, Grammy-winning singer Billie Eilish, said in his own TikTok video. “It’s mean. Your parents are showing vulnerability for a brief second and you’re laughing at them. It’s mean. Stop.”