Davido, Afrobeats sensation, plans to file lawsuit over false April Fools’ article regarding drug arrest

Davido, Afrobeats sensation, plans to file lawsuit over false April Fools’ article regarding drug arrest

Afrobeats musician Davido is seeking legal action against a media outlet that published a fake news report on April Fools’ Day claiming he had been “detained” after a “cocaine haul” was “found in his private jet.”

The article was published on April 1 by K24, a TV station in Kenya. The report falsely claimed the three-time Grammy nominee was “apprehended by the Anti-Narcotics Police Unit” on March 31 after a search of his private jet at Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

Kenya’s directorate of criminal investigations took to X in an effort to dispel the false allegations, branding the story “fake news.” Davido said the untrue reports had led to “a barrage of calls,” and that while he had indeed been traveling — returning from his East African tour — “I have never been arrested by anyone in any country for any crime in the world.”

The K24 report made several false, headline-grabbing claims about large amounts of cocaine being hidden on the aircraft and other allegations of illegal drug use. The news outlet updated the article later on April 1, writing in a photo caption: “This article is fictitious and only meant for April Fools’ Day. Are you fooled?” The outlet has since deleted the story.

“I want to assure my fans that these reports are entirely untrue,” Davido, who has become a global ambassador for Afrobeats and the Afropop landscape, said in a social media post Tuesday.

The 31-year-old, whose real name is David Adedeji Adeleke, called the article “extremely irresponsible” regardless of it being published on April Fools’ Day, and said he had instructed his legal team to take action.

K24 and the author of the report did not immediately return a request for comment Wednesday.

Around the world on April Fools’ Day, many including brands, companies and celebrities issue false or misleading statements in a bid to entertain the public — sometimes backfiring spectacularly in the process.

But for news organizations to get involved with April Fools’ Day by publishing fake news, at a time when interest in the media is dwindling, is a “truly bad idea,” Craig Robertson from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism said in an interview Wednesday.

“Why deliberately undermine trust in your own publication by posting a fake ‘joke’ story?” he said. “It will just make people question all the other stories you posted on April 1, and perhaps all your other content in general.”

Robertson, whose focus is on news trust and credibility, noted that media outlets “have enough of a struggle trying to gain the public’s trust,” especially at a time when there is “so much public discussion around fake news and AI manipulation, as well as low public trust in news.”

Robertson said he had an “inkling” that a news outlet might “be irresponsible enough” to jump on the April 1 bandwagon, but that it was “baffling” a media organization would “post a fake story about something so serious.”

“I don’t know if there was ever a time when you could do a fake April Fools’ story responsibly, but it’s definitely not in 2024,” he said. “Implicating someone in a serious crime just isn’t funny.”

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