Charity's season of The Bachelorette is over and she is riding off into the sunset with her fiancé, Dotun Olubeko, and we couldn't be happier for the two of them. While we have to wait for both The Golden Bachelor and Bachelor in Paradise to premiere, Bachelor Nation can't stay out of the headlines, and this time in a not-so-good way.
According to reports on Monday, Aug. 28, 2023, former Bachelorette contestant turned mental health advocate and social media influencer Josh Seiter had passed away. Not to worry as on Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2023, Josh took to Instagram to dispel the rumors.
We'll break down the death hoax below.
Why was there a Josh Seiter death hoax?
Josh was on Kaitlyn Bristow's season of The Bachelorette and has since built a big social media presence with 459K followers on Instagram alone. He's a big mental health advocate and shares an opening about his struggles with depression and anxiety. Josh has also been open about his suicide attempts, which made this death hoax that much more believable.
On Aug. 28, 2023, it was posted on Josh's Instagram that he had passed. The since-deleted post that was supposedly from his family read:
"It is with an extremely heavy heart that we share the tragic news of Joshua's unexpected passing. As all who knew him can attest, Joshua was an incredibly bright light in an increasingly dim world. His fearless voice and indomitable spirit helped thousands of people in their darkest moments feel just a little less alone."
The post ends with, "We would kindly ask for privacy as we grieve. For anybody who is experiencing a mental health crisis and needs help, the 988 SMS Lifeline provides 24/7 free and confidential support for people in distress, as well as prevention and crisis resources” (via Advocate).
Naturally, fans were distraught but it turns out it was all a death hoax. On Aug. 29, 2023, Josh posted a video stating that he was still alive and that his account was actually hacked. In the video, Josh states:
"As you can see, I am alive and well. My account was hacked. For the last 24 hours, I have been trying desperately to get into it. Somebody was playing a cruel joke and mocking my mental illness and the struggles I've gone through with depression and suicide attempts and I'm sorry for all the pain they caused when they made that post."
The video ends with Josh saying that he and his team will do everything they can to "identify who was behind this." He apologized for the "confusion."
What an awful thing to do. Alas, we are so glad that this was just a sick joke and that Josh hasn't passed away.