About nine hours after I wrote about Keanu Reeves posting a picture and a wise statement on social media, it was brought to my attention that the entire thing was, in fact, a hoax. I was contacted by the webmaster of www.whoaisnotme.net, a Keanu fan page that has been around for quite some time, and have since updated the original post.

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The website is very accurate and well sourced. My contact there told me that they have read every single interview done by Keanu since 1986 and that he has stated many times that he is not on social media. The webmaster explains that the website which posted the fake quote is “an unofficial fan page that often posts quotes like this (this one is a viral post from elsewhere) and pairs them with pictures of Keanu.” The benefit of publishing this kind of thing is beyond me, but I imagine it generates quite a bit of traffic for them.

None of the quotes on that page are from Keanu. And the photo paired with the quote in question was actually taken back in March of this year by a fan who struck up a conversation with him as he was chilling outside on Broadway having a smoke. The fan asked if she could take his picture and he then asked if she wanted it to be a selfie. She said she would rather he posed for her, and he obliged. That’s the picture we see above. He even took a few more photos with other people that day, as we can clearly see by the location and outfit he is wearing.

It seems highly unlikely that he would give out his number or email address or go searching for a fan photo online so he could copy and paste it to his own social media and then write a post that has nothing to do with the origins of the photo. Indeed, in an interview with Vulture, after being informed that people on the net were creating memes of him, Keanu responded with: Oh, that’s funny. So they like take paparazzi pictures and re-contextualize them? Funny.”

Clearly, the picture was taken completely out of context and paired with a quote that had nothing to do with it. The whoaisnotme.net webmaster went on to say: “But what makes me certain that the quote is fake is that it’s written in the exact same writing style as all the others on that page and those of the other celebrity fan pages. Whoever is responsible does not seem to be a native English speaker, given their frequent grammatical and punctuation mistakes.”

They believe the series of ‘unofficial’ celebrity Facebook pages are run by one or a group of people who just repost each other’s stuff. Most have hundreds of thousands of followers. It’s pretty evident after reading through Keanu’s two Reddit AMAs that his style of writing is quite different from that of his alleged quotes. He’s fairly articulate and displays a clear sense of humour that is lacking in the faked quote.

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Fake celebrity quotes and memes seem to be an unfortunate reality of the internet age. People make things up and stick a famous name to it, dead or alive. For example, there are a number of Marilyn Monroe quotes floating around that she never said, including: “Nothing lasts forever. So live it up, drink it down, laugh it off, avoid the drama, take chances and never have regrets because at one point everything you did was exactly what you wanted.” This was never found in any interview or even in her biography.

Another quote supposedly attributed to Bob Marley and to Bob Dylan is “Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet.”

I’m all for positive messages. Here at CE we strive to create content that raises consciousness, and I still stand by the message of the quote, regardless of who wrote it. It is unfortunate that it was taken entirely out of context and manipulated in such a way as to generate a lot of likes and shares, but that doesn’t negate its value. We are a detached society that desperately desires more human connection. We want to be hugged and to feel loved. We want to feel acknowledged. So despite the unethical work that went behind sharing that message to the world, I still think it was worth reading. What we need to take away from this experience, however, is the knowledge that we should approach the next ‘awesome,’ ‘inspiring,’ or ‘enlightening’ celebrity quote with a level of intrigue. If we don’t actually see them saying it, question it’s validity.


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