VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Viral video of girl on hospital bed NOT Kobe Bryant’s daughter Gianna

A clip showing a girl on a hospital bed that netizens are falsely claiming to be American basketball star Kobe Bryant’s daughter, Gianna, is circulating on social media. This, a day after the two died in a tragic helicopter crash on Jan. 26 (U.S. time).

The young woman in the video, who was being wheeled across a corridor while surrounded by hospital staff, is not Gianna.

The four-month-old video featured Ariana Cervantes, a pedestrian who was involved in a road crash in California in August 2019. The original video, almost 11 minutes long, shows Cervantes doing an “honor walk,” which is a “demonstration of respect and tribute” to dying patients who choose to donate their organs, according to the University of California San Diego School of Medicine. It was uploaded on YouTube in September 2019 by a certain Lila Reggans.

Cervantes’ road crash, although not reported by the mainstream media in the United States, was featured in a number of websites of legal groups specializing in incidents and injury claims in the U.S.

The clips circulating on social media are a re-upload of Reggan’s video onto video-sharing site TikTok by a user named @sparkle_2000, whose username can be seen in the false posts making the rounds on social media.

Facebook has detected the fake reposts of the TikTok video carrying the title or caption “Gianna Bryant dead body in hospital,” or a variation of it, published by several FB pages and users and some YouTube channels. Among the publishers of the false posts are FB page Jun Valerie TV and YouTube channel HowToBasicPH.

A look at @sparkle_2000’s profile shows it has a history of publishing random videos of honor walks of different patients, without clearly stating who these individuals are. Its upload of Reggan’s video, for example, did not name Cervantes. It was only the netizens in the comments section of the post who misconstrued the woman to be Gianna.

The false posts surfaced after Kobe and Gianna, along with seven other people, died in a helicopter crash at Calabasas City in California. Mainstream media has reported that all nine bodies have been recovered from the crash site.

The false video uploaded on FB by Jun Valerie TV has received over 1,700 reactions and has been shared more than 800 times. The page’s YouTube channel, which also uploaded the untrue post, has been viewed more than 32,500 times.

Youtube channel HowToBasic PH’s upload of the video, on the other hand, has gotten over 330,000 views.


(Editor's Note: VERA Files has partnered with Facebook to fight the spread of disinformation. Find out more about this partnership and our methodology.)

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