Fans of the pop singer Britney Spears and her boyfriend, Justin Timberlake, were sent into a state of hysteria when two radio DJs issued a hoax report saying the couple had been killed in a car crash in Los Angeles.
The report on the Dallas radio station KEGL-FM prompted hundreds of fans to swamp police and fire service phone lines with inquiries. The rumour was spread by fans using internet chatrooms.
Jason Lee, of the Los Angeles Police Department, said he received between 50 and 75 calls after the rumour began on Tuesday evening.
Brian Humphrey, a spokesman for the Los Angeles Fire Department, received more than 100 inquiries, and decided eventually to tape a message telling callers the department had "no knowledge of a well-known singer and her boyfriend" being involved in an accident. The California Highway Patrol and local hospitals also received inquiries.
The DJs responsible for the hoax, Kramer and Twitch, are not new to controversy. In February they were suspended after joking that motorists should run over cyclists or bump them with their open car doors. They were also fined $14,000 (£10,000) for making sexually offensive remarks.Reuse content