Josh Seiter, who appeared as a contestant on “The Bachelorette” in 2015, is alive and well, claiming that his Instagram account was hacked and that a third party posted a bogus death announcement as a “cruel joke.”
“Hey, guys. As you can see, I am alive and well. My account was hacked,” Seiter said in his video. “For the last 24 hours, I’ve been trying desperately to get into it. Somebody was playing a cruel joke and mocking my mental illness and the struggles I’ve gone through with depression and suicide attempts.”
Seiter did not name the person who allegedly hacked his account. The original Instagram post, attributed to his family, has since been deleted, People reported.
It is the second time this month that an entertainment personality or internet influencer has been victimized by a fake death announcement on their social media account.
The account of Little Tay, a 14-year-old rapper, was reportedly hacked on Aug. 9. The next day the internet personality said in a statement that she was not dead and said her Instagram account had been compromised by a third party.
Multiple outlets, including Cox Media Group, had reported Seiter’s death on Monday based on the now-deleted Instagram post allegedly attributed to family members.
“When I saw that I had been hacked and this thing had been posted, and it was designed to appear genuine but it’s really trying to invoke a response from people and troll people, it’s very upsetting to me,” Seiter told CNN in a telephone conversation on Tuesday. “I think it’s egregious, I think it’s disappointing. But I’m not shocked that there’s someone out there (who) thought it was funny to, in this way, make fun of mental illness, make fun of suicide.”
Seiter was a contestant on the 11th season of “The Bachelorette,” vying for the affections of Kaitlyn Bristowe, Variety reported. He was eliminated after the first week of the show, according to the entertainment news website.
Seiter had spoken out about his mental health struggles and admitted in July 2021 that he had once attempted suicide, People reported.
In an Instagram post approximately two years ago, Seiter called himself “a suicide attempt survivor,” adding that he battled obsessive-compulsive disorder, bipolar depression and generalized anxiety disorder.
“I refuse to give up,” he wrote at the time.
On Tuesday, Seiter said he had a “thick skin” when asked about people who questioned his contention that his account was hacked.
“If they think that it was a ploy or something, they can think that — it wasn’t,” Seiter told CNN. “I wasn’t behind it, I’m the victim of it.”
Note: If you or someone you know is thinking of harming themselves, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides free support via the Lifeline by dialing 988. For more about risk factors and warning signs, visit the organization’s official website.
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