To clear things up, actor Dustin Diamond, the man who as a teenager played the funny oddball kid named “Samuel Powers a.k.a. Screech” on the classic NBC sitcom Saved by the Bell, was not murdered in a prison riot. It was a hoax, a classic case of online satire, which is basically when something is written and/or published that publicly displays human wrongdoings and/or foolishness to ridicule, scorn or discredit a person or persons in a certain way.
Dustin Diamond isn’t even in jail according to The New York Post. And, when us who are nostalgic fans of the show (which ran from 1989 through 1992) heard that Diamond had been recently killed while behind bars, we all tried to figure out whether it was true, because death hoaxes like this about stars (such as Bill Cosby, Will Smith, and many other celebs listed by The Los Angeles Times) happen from time to time.
According to the Reuter’s Fact Check that was published on October 15th, 2020, the original post that read Saved By The Bell’s Dustin “Screech” Diamond Killed In Prison Riot at Age 43 was initially on a website called ‘Ringsssss’. Those who run the website openly describe what kind of site it truly is on their About Page:
Ringssss is a fabricated satirical newspaper and comedy website. Ringsssss uses invented names in all its stories, except in cases when public figures are being satirized. Any other use of real names is accidental and coincidental.
Dustin “Screech” Diamond’s Previous Jail Sentence
The reason so many Saved By The Bell fans probably believed this current 2020 death hoax about Dustin Diamond is because he actually was in jail several years ago. In fact, he was a victim of a hoax back then too, from another satirical website called Empire News.
According to The Independent (a very reputable International News source), in late December of 2014 Diamond was arrested for allegedly stabbing a man in a bar with a pocket knife. And, even after the cops released a statement saying that the injuries to the man were not life-threatening, Empire News still published that the man was killed.
After being charged with disorderly conduct, carrying a concealed weapon, and recklessly endangering safety, Diamond’s bail was set at $10,000. His fiancee, Amanda Schutz (whom Diamond said he was trying to protect during the bar incident) said that he was acting in self-defense, and herself was also charged with disorderly conduct.
Diamond did sixty days in jail according to The Hollywood Reporter, but was then released on probation. Then, on May 25th 2016, Diamond was arrested again by Ozaukee County authorities for violating his probation. He had apparently inadvertently taken some pills for a toothache that were against the provisions of his parole, and spent a couple of days in jail for it before being released.
Dustin “Screech” Diamond’s Death by Prison Riot Was a Hoax
The October 2020 hoax about Dustin Diamond’s death was another classic example of folks just believing what they hear online too quickly. Whenever there is an announcement of someone’s death, it’s important to look for trusted news sources before spreading the word about it, especially when that person is a celebrity.