The entertainment industry and millions of fans were rocked last week with news that iconic actress Betty White died just days before her 100th birthday.
Along with online tributes and condolences, social media also served as a forum for conspiracies that she died shortly after receiving a COVID-19 booster shot — but her agent has spoken out to debunk any such claims.
“That seems to be the story out there”
According to the Washington Examiner, Jeff Witjas insisted that the claim was “100% not true.”
Instead, White’s personal friend asserted that she died peacefully in her own home and urged the public to refrain from politicizing her final days.
A New York Daily News reporter asked Witjas whether the vaccine potentially played a role in the death.
Although he said he had remained close to White throughout the pandemic as a precautionary measure, he acknowledged that he was not aware of her vaccination status.
“But I do know for a fact that a booster was not involved at all in Betty’s passing,” he said. “That seems to be the story out there, and it’s just not true. Betty passed due to natural causes.”
“She was never a political person when she lived”
Witjas defended the right of Americans to “do what they want to do” regarding whether they receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
“But they should not hang it on Betty for any reason,” he said. “It’s just not right. It’s not her legacy. She was never a political person when she lived. I would certainly hate to see her become politicized in passing.”
Spreading rumors about White’s vaccination status could lead others to refrain from receiving a shot, he said, adding: “Today you can attribute anything to anybody and make it true. But I don’t want that to be done to Betty. Unless it’s true. But in this case, it’s not true.”
Rumors gained steam as a subsequently debunked report suggested that White touted the fact that she received a booster shot just days before her death.
“Betty never said this,” Witjas said in response to an Associated Press question regarding the alleged quote.