A Covid-19 patient on BBC News is not a ‘crisis actor’

18 January 2022
What was claimed

A BBC News report showed an actor pretending to be ill with Covid-19.

Our verdict

This is not true. The man was a genuine Covid-19 patient, who subsequently added the phrase “crisis actor” to his Instagram profile as a joke.

A video on Instagram claims that a Covid-19 patient shown on BBC News is really an actor pretending to be ill.

This is not true.

A man in the video visits the patient’s Instagram account where he finds the phrase “award winning crisis actor”. In response, the man in the video says: “It’s almost like he’s been paid to pretend he’s got Covid and he’s on the telly… He’s pretending to be real… He’s a crisis actor.”

In fact the patient, called Henry Dyne, was genuinely ill with Covid (as he later confirmed to Reuters) when he was filmed by BBC News in the summer of 2021, but later added the phrase “award winning crisis actor” to his Instagram profile as a joke.

In a later interview with the BBC, published on 7 January 2022, Mr Dyne explained that he received many abusive messages calling him a “crisis actor” after his first interview was broadcast.

As a joke in response to many of these accusations, Mr Dyne told the BBC that he added the phrase “1x Academy Award Winning Crisis Actor” to the profile of his Instagram account.

This phrase was later found and falsely claimed as “proof” that Mr Dyne was only pretending to be ill with Covid.

The belief that there are people pretending to experience types of crisis or disaster outside drama or training situations—so-called crisis actors—is a common feature of conspiracy theories. (For example we’ve previously checked another false claim about a supposed crisis actor at the Sarah Everard vigil in London).

Photo by Olga Kononenko on Unsplash


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