If you’ve never read any of Cormac McCarthy‘s novels, short fiction or drama, then you’ve probably seen at least one of the films based on his literary corpus. Joel and Ethan Coen’s Academy Award-winning No Country for Old Men was based on his ninth book, and John Hillcoat adapted The Road from McCarthy’s tenth novel, which won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Aside from writing the screenplay for Ridley Scott’s panned The Counselor in 2013, however, the 82-year-old hasn’t been up to much. He’s always shunned the public eye, and now that he’s about to turn 83, McCarthy is ripe for a death hoax.
The account allegedly run by Debenedetti admitted the false nature of the above post half an hour later, but not before the rest of the internet took notice. Even legitimate news outlets like USA Today caught wind of McCarthy’s apparent passing and published their own tweet to get in on the action.
Penguin Random House, of which Alfred A. Knopf is a subsidiary, wasn’t going to let Debenedetti’s hoax fly. In addition to sending a statement out to members of the press denying McCarthy’s death, they also tweeted the best response to the ruckus. Simply put, McCarthy was “alive and well” and he “still doesn’t care about Twitter.”
USA Today and other news organizations acknowledged their mistake and posted corrected tweets and stories denying McCarthy’s death.
That didn’t stop Twitter from having a bloody good time with it all, however.