- Slater Vance participated in a TikTok trend where users lie about celebrity deaths to their parents.
- He later apologized for lying about the death of Bassett’s co-star Michael B. Jordan.
- Many social media users have called the trend distasteful.
It was another TikTok trend that went too far.
That’s what 16-year-old Slater Vance learned last week after he got in on it using his own famous parents: actors Angela Bassett and Courtney B. Vance.
The trend involves users pranking their families on camera, pretending that celebrities – usually loved by their parents – have died. The trend grew in popularity during the holiday season as families gathered and children flocked home for the holidays, with TikTok users temporarily bluffing in living rooms, kitchens and grocery stores around the world.
As of January 1, the hashtag “celebritydeathprank” had over 174 million views on the app, with “deadcelebrityprank” nearly as many.
Slater Vance joined pretending to read the news that actor Michael B. Jordan had died at the age of 35, to which Bassett reacted with obvious shock and anguish.
Social media users were quick to point out that Bassett’s co-star Jordan — they co-starred in 2018’s Black Panther and its sequel together — may have escalated the prank from unpleasant to harmful. Chadwick Boseman, another young Black Panther co-star of Bassett’s, died of colon cancer in 2020, news that also came as a shock to the film’s cast and crew.
The elder Vance has also worked with Jordan, with the two executives producing the AMC show “61st Street.”
Vance has since removed the video from TikTok and posted a contrite apology for making the video.
“I would like to apologize for participating in such a harmful trend,” he said on Saturday. “I apologize to all of Michael Jordan’s family, his extended family, because he is my idol and to be part of a trend like this is completely disrespectful.”
Even so much keep enjoying and sharing in the videos, some social media users were prophetic about the potential for the trend to go south like it did with Vance, including Grammy winner Finneas O’Connell.
“I haven’t laughed once at any of your videos where you tell your parents someone died when they didn’t,” said O’Connell, who often collaborates with his sister, Billie Eilish, on his own video TikTok. “It’s bad. Your parents look vulnerable for a split second and you laugh at them. It’s bad. Stop.”
Twitter users say Slater Vance’s New Year’s Eve TikTok may have killed his viral prank, which led to the names of Jon Bon Jovi, Oprah Winfrey and Cher being thrown around in vain.
“Angela Bassett and Courtney B. Vance just ended this TikTok trend and we owe them a debt of gratitude,” one user he said.
Slater Vance expressed his wish that others could learn from him.
“I own this mistake and I hope this can be a learning lesson for anyone who uses social media as a tool and source of entertainment to really understand that their actions can have consequences that extend beyond you,” he said. .