Daniel Radcliffe Just Revealed His Reaction To That Coronavirus Hoax Tweet

    "I don’t ever think there’s been a rumour about me that was so topical."

    The journalists at BuzzFeed News are proud to bring you trustworthy and relevant reporting about the coronavirus. To help keep this news free, become a member and sign up for our newsletter, Outbreak Today.

    If you cast your mind back, you may remember that a few weeks ago a viral tweet from a fake BBC news account claimed that Daniel Radcliffe had become the first celebrity to test positive for the coronavirus.

    Amanda Edwards / Getty Images

    The tweet received more than 300,000 impressions before the account was suspended, and the people behind it told BuzzFeed News they had done it to prove how easily manipulated people are by things they see on the internet.

    Twitter / Twitter: @bbcnewstonight

    "We needed someone who was famous but not famous enough to be unbelievable," said a member of the 33-person group chat responsible for the hoax. "People love Daniel Radcliffe as a childhood star, but he isn’t popular on social media."

    At the time, Daniel laughed off the rumour, telling Australian radio show Smallzy's Surgery that he thinks the hoax spread because "[he looks] ill all the time, so you can believably say it about [him]."

    John Sciulli / Getty Images

    But in a new interview with Vulture, Daniel opened up about the day he became the subject of the hoax, and explained that he found out about it after his makeup artist received a text from his niece telling him Daniel had COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

    Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images

    "I was immediately like, quite amused by it," he said. "It’s not the first time I’ve had something crazy written about me. I don’t ever think there’s been a rumour about me that was so topical, that was pivoting off the news. Most of it before has been random stuff that British newspapers have said."

    Meanwhile, Daniel's long-term girlfriend, Erin Darke, was on a plane when the "news" broke, and landed to a bunch of texts asking if Daniel was OK.

    Bruce Glikas / FilmMagic

    She said she was "just very confused", because she'd seen him that morning, and he was fine.

    I was like, "He seemed really OK this morning and he’s only texting me about my retainer, so if that’s his way of letting me know he has corona, we need to work on our communication."

    "I spent the whole morning just having to tell journalists that I did not have coronavirus," Daniel said. "And it was maybe only a day later that Tom Hanks said he had it."

    Amy Sussman / Getty Images

    Overall, while he has a good sense of humour about it, Daniel said he thinks the situation has become more serious in the weeks since the hoax happened.

    I wonder if someone would do that now. Even in the relatively short time since that happened, the gravity of the situation has sunken in a bit more. I don’t think people would be so quick to make something up ... Also, at some point, I might get it! The actor that cried coronavirus.

    Read the full interview with Vulture here.

    Ellie Bate is a celebrity reporter and talent coordinator at BuzzFeed UK and is based in London.

    Contact Ellie Bate at eleanor.bate@buzzfeed.com.

    Got a confidential tip? Submit it here