When Shirley Pitts, leader of a shoplifting gang in Britain, died on 1992, English gangsters praised her for "never grassing" while rumors erupted about the fact her £5,000 burial dress had been stolen.
There is a widespread false rumor that Will Smith turned down a scholarship to MIT. In reality he was quoted saying, "I had pretty high SAT scores and they needed black kids, so I probably could have gotten in. But I had no intention of going to college."
3Procter & Gamble
Procter & Gamble has spent decades and millions to suppress rumors that its executives worship Satan and that their profits support the Church of Satan.
In 1991, a false rumor spread that New York-based "Tropical Fantasy" brand soda was bottled by the KKK and contained an ingredient to sterilize black men. Sales of the drink didn't recover until the city's black mayor drank a bottle on TV.
After the false rumors that mixing Pop Rocks with soda could cause death, General Foods sent letters to school principals, created open letters to parents, took out advertisements in major publications, and sent the inventor on the road to explain Pop Rocks are not dangerous.
In 1987, one of Heineken’s retailers started a rumor that urine was one of Corona’s important ingredients. They did it to stop its growing sales. Corona’s parent company sued for damages and reached a settlement.
A French chef named Bernard Loiseau committed suicide when he heard of rumors of his restaurant being downgraded from a Michelin Guide three-star restaurant to two-stars. This was the basis for the character "Gusteau" in "Ratatouille".
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Popular American chewing gum brand Bubble Yum once had to mount a PR campaign to combat the rumor that it derived its soft texture from the addition of spider eggs.
An entirely unfounded rumor about "flesh-eating bananas" panicked the public to such an extent that the Center for Disease Control had to set up a "banana hotline" as it was inundated with calls from the gullible public worried about killer bananas.
There was a rumor that Psy's "Gangnam Style" video was a fulfilling prophecy of the end time, that the world would end when the video amassed a billion views. It hit a billion on December 21, 2012.