False rumors of Brad Pitt visit to MU make social media rounds

Photos of Pitt in Los Angeles on Thursday countered the rumors.

Rumors of a campus visit from Brad Pitt, actor, philanthropist, Academy Award nominee and former MU student, spread via Facebook and Twitter on Thursday afternoon.

Early in the afternoon, rumors began circulating on campus that Pitt had been sighted at the MU Student Center. These claims were then countered by accounts of online pictures of Pitt in Los Angeles for the day.

False reports that Pitt was in The Maneater office in the lower level of the student center were sparked by the presence of a camera crew for Apple in the newspaper's office. The crew was filming a short video on the School of Journalism’s use of Apple products.

According to a Thursday article by the Columbia Missourian, the rumors of Pitt coming to campus were started by MU freshman Patrick Mulvihill and some friends, who were all members of the Sigma Chi fraternity house. Mulvihill had tweeted on Wednesday that Pitt would be coming to MU, and what started as a joke between friends expanded further than they anticipated, according to the Columbia Missourian.

Sigma Chi president Harry Pettey said he had no knowledge of Sigma Chi being involved in spreading the rumor.

Student Ambassador Kristina Gentile, who was working at the student center at about 4 p.m., said she saw nothing but, like other students, heard rumors there were cameramen getting into a white Escalade near the student center. She said most of what the student center had heard was rumors.

Freshman Steven Twidwell said he thought he saw Pitt walking out of the MU Student Center with a woman and someone who looked like they might be a bodyguard.

“He was leaving,” Twidwell said. “He was walking out. He got into a white Escalade.”

MU spokesman Christian Basi said he did not know if Pitt was on campus today and that the MU News Bureau is usually informed beforehand in situations where celebrities like Pitt make an appearance on campus. Pitt was a journalism major with a focus on advertising at MU who left for California two credit hours short of graduating.

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