Deaf News: Could David Rose, the deaf quadriplegic Twitter sensation be a sickening hoax?

Posted on October 15, 2012

This website wasn’t alone in feeling moved by the story of David Rose, the deaf quadriplegic Twitter sensation who supposedly died a few days ago from pneumonia. However, it now appears certain that what was believed to be a moving, inspiring story may instead be a sickening hoax.

Along with many other news sites, including the Mail Online and the Huffington Post, this site reported on the story of Dave on Wheels, the deaf quadriplegic Twitter sensation, who’d clocked up thousands of followers due to his witty and humorous take on life.

Those news stories about David went viral last week, so it came as a shock to many that just a few days after those stories appeared, David passed away due to pneumonia.

In his final blog post, which was also uploaded by his sister after he died, Rose supposedly said:

Today I found out I have pneumonia.

It not the nice kind either, where you cough for few days then go home and have ice cream.

It the bad kind where you probably do not go home.

He went on to wonder whether there might be sound in heaven, saying: “but not sure if I want it! Here on earth I been happy to be deaf.”

Those final words were Tweeted by top Twitter people like Caitlin Moran, Roger Ebert, and Graham Linehan.

However, a blog written today called Dave on Wheels exposed cast doubt on the authenticity of David Rose.

My first thoughts were about how awful this is, and how life sometimes is so unfair. And then I had an unnerving feeling that wouldn’t depart. Dave was deaf with cerebral palsy. Such an unfortunate disorder as it is, and deaf too? So he must not have been able to sign (from lack of motor control) and unable to talk or hear. How awful to be trapped in a body with thoughts but not being able to express yourself to anyone, not even your family and friends. He wrote fondly about his friends with cerebral palsy, I imagined how difficult that would be, given that he couldn’t sign, hear, or talk. Suddenly nothing added up anymore. Being a fairly efficient online “detective” I tried to prove my gut (for lack of a better word) wrong.

The writer of the blog goes on to cast doubt on the photo of David, which seems to be of another man with cerebral palsy. She also finds out that Tweets which were supposedly written on David’s special computer were posted via Tweetdeck, and points out that David’s farewell blog, which runs to over 1000 words, would have taken him 5 hours to write.

Even more remarkably, in a comment on the blog, the person who purports to have posed as David has written:

David was just a character, a part of my psyche, and fame would soon reveal what it has revealed today. So, the character passed. In hindsight it probably would have been better just to shut it all down and have everyone wonder what the hell happened, but the final post was meant to have the effect it did. To inspire people to love and live a better life, and the public knowledge that it came under this false pretense takes it all away. I hope that people who were moved by it still live by it, but it seems unlikely. It’s possible that more damage has been done in your reveal than in the original deception.

David’s blog and his Twitter account have now both been deleted.

We’re sure this site’s not alone in feeling a little humbled, and sickened at what some people will do online, right now.

Read the full blog here:

You can also read this blog on Chive, the website that first alerted people to Dave on Wheels:

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