Corn Kid Tariq Was the Victim of a Death Hoax — But He's Alive and Well


Nov. 2 2023, Updated 2:56 p.m. ET

The Gist:

  • Tariq, now 8, became a viral sensation in 2022, after an interview of him expressing his love for corn captivated social media.
  • Tariq, who is now known as the Corn Kid, was the victim of a death hoax shortly after his video went viral.
  • Corn Kid is alive and well as of November 2023, and regularly shares updates on his Instagram and TikTok accounts.
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In the history of the internet, few things have been more unifying than videos of children who are exceptionally cute. In 2022, one such video went viral on TikTok featuring a seven-year-old boy named Tariq who really loves corn.

The Corn Kid, as he's been affectionately dubbed, was all over the internet for a brief period before rumors began swirling suggesting something horrible happened to him. Here's why people said Corn Kid died and what he's up to today.

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What happened to Corn Kid?

After going viral, rumors began to surface that Corn Kid had died unexpectedly. The news understandably saddened many people who had enjoyed his video, but some were also curious about where the rumor actually came from.

It seems like the rumor originated in a viral Facebook post which featured a headline saying that Tariq, aka Corn Kid, had been found dead as the result of a gang-related shooting.

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If you look closely at the post, you'll see that the article claims to be from NPR, and it says it was written by Dustin Jones. Since the post first appeared, it's begun to spread and led many people to believe that Tariq had been shot. Thankfully, this post wasn't genuine, which means there's no reason to believe the Corn Kid died.

Reports of the Corn Kid's death were fake.

The post that went viral features an edited news article that was designed to make everyone believe that Tariq had really died. There's no actual article by anyone named Dustin Jones that reports the news. The original news article instead features additional reporting on Tariq, including how he came to be one of the most well-known kids on the internet simply because of his love of corn.

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The Corn Kid likes math and recess.

Tariq was profiled in The New York Times, and the article suggested that he was adjusting pretty well to his return to normal life. It also mentioned that his favorite subjects in school are math and recess, and he likes math because, in his own words, he's good at it.

Tariq also discussed his love of corn and the missing front tooth that meant he had more trouble eating it.

Source: YouTube
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He also said that, when the tooth fell out, the tooth fairy didn't come. “She ditched me. She thinks I have a horrible family," he claimed.

Tariq, whose family asked that he only be identified by his first name in order to maintain their privacy, seems to have maintained a pretty normal life even as he's become one of the most famous kids on the internet.

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What is the Corn Kid doing now?

Since his video went viral, Tariq has been approached by bookers and his family had to hire a lawyer quickly. He got to attend the premiere of Pinocchio in Los Angeles, and also sampled a wide variety of corn-based foods on The Drew Barrymore Show. Tariq's family seems to understand that his internet stardom won't last forever, and are trying to balance his regular life with the spectacular opportunities he's now getting.

In August 2022, the Corn Kid was featured in a Chipotle TikTok video which has garnered 9.3 million likes and counting. Per Today, Corn Kid was also named South Dakota’s "Official Corn-bassador." To make things even sweeter for the 8-year-old, he was invited to attend the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards in March 2023 and recently became a model for Crocs.

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Although the Corn Kid experienced a few hiccups after going viral for his love of corn (referencing the death hoax), he seems to be doing just fine these days.

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