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Truth behind “Italian Billionaire Commits Suicide after His Family Died due to Coronavirus” Video

Dirar Khattab   Friday 24th April 2020

Dirar Khattab   Friday 24th April 2020

Activists on social media have circulated video footage of a man throwing himself off a tall building then hits the floor amid bystanders' screams.

A facebook user, @rofessionnel, has posted the video on April 3, claiming it shows “the suicide of an Italian billionaire from one of his hotels at the center of Rome due to the death of his family who died from the coronavirus.” The footage has been viewed over 500,000 times after three weeks of being published. Also, tweeter @almajil5 has posted the same video, claiming it shows the suicide of an Italian billionaire. The tweet has been shared over 360 times. Also, there have been claims that the video shows the suicide of a U.S. biollionaire in NY because his family got infected with Covid-19.

The video isn’t related to Corona crisis or Italy

Verify-Sy Platform fact-checked the claims and found, after conducting a search with suitable keywords, that the same video was posted on Dailymotion in August 2015 under the title, “Man Commits Suicide By Jumping Off A Skyscraper In Philly.”

There is no relation between the suicide incident in Philadelphia and the video

To collect more evidence, Verify-Sy searched for suicide incidents in the city of Philadelphia, USA in 2015 and found one incident reported by PhillyVoice.com on May 4, 2015 in a news report titled, “ Man dies in apparent suicide after balcony jump.”

PhillyVoice.com, a media publisher specialized in the Philadelphia region, reported that “the Philadelphia Medical Examiner's Office has released the identity of a man who died Saturday after jumping from an Embassy Suites Hotel balcony in Center City.”

“Sean McGrellis, 37, of Williamstown, New Jersey, died of multiple blunt impact injuries, spokesman Jeff Moran said. Police confirmed that McGrellis' death was ruled a suicide,” reported PhillyVoice.com in a second news report. “McGrellis founded the JTM Organization in 2012, according to his LinkedIn page. The organization provides freelance musical services for churches, consultative services to higher education organizations and marketing and Internet research services to theatrical art organizations.”

Our team geolocated the Embassy Suites Hotel where the incident had taken place. By using Google Street View, and matching the buildings shown in the map with those shown in the suicide video, we conclude that the video is related to the incident reported on by PhillyVoice.com. Also, our team could roughly determine the location where the person who had captured the footage was standing.

Is it true that an Italian or U.S. billionaire committed suicide due to the coronavirus crisis?

No, it’s not true. Our team searched for such an incident in English-language Italian newspapers and reached out to two Syrian journalists based in Italy, who are closely following the Corona virus crisi there, and concluded that there are no reports on a billionaire in any of these countries who had committed suicide due to the coronavirus crisis.

Unsuccessful verification attempt by Sky News Arabia

Sky News Arabia’s website published a fact-checking piece on the circulated claims of the suicide incident under the title, “Video of Suicide from High Place.. What Is Its Relation with Corona?,” in which it reported that the video is unrelated to the coronavirus crisis. However, it did not provide true information about the footage, basing its argument on false information reported by Daily Mail and a website it named “AIT News.”


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