LOS ANGELES — Superstar Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson says a U.K. tabloid fabricated a story about him decrying “snowflake” culture.
Johnson says the Daily Star newspaper published a “100% fabricated” interview that quotes the American actor criticizing millennials and “smacking down snowflakes.”
Johnson said the interview with the newspaper — which appeared on its front page and was billed as an “exclusive” — never took place.
The story claimed Johnson was critical of “PC softies” and said he “spoke out after a flood of snowflake stories hit the headlines.”
“So many good people fought for freedom and equality — but this generation (is) looking for a reason to be offended,” the paper quoted Johnson as saying.
The piece, written by Jack Andrews, remained online until Saturday before it was eventually removed. It had appeared on the Daily Star’s front page the previous day under the headline, “The Rock Smacks Down Snowflakes.”
A number of publications, including Fox News and FOX31, picked up the story.
The Daily Star’s publishers have not responded to a CNN request for comment.
The wrestler-turned-actor, who stars in “The Fast and Furious” movie franchise, posted a video on Instagram denying he had taken part.
View this post on Instagram
Settin’ the record straight. The interview never happened. Never said those words. 100% false. If I ever had an issue with someone, a group, community or a generation — I’d seek them out, create dialogue and do my best to understand them. Criticizing ain’t my style. I don’t cast stones and we all get to be who we are. #millies #plurals #boomers #TequilaGeneration 🤙🏾🥃
“The interview never took place. Never happened. Never said any of those words,” Johnson said. “Completely untrue. 100% fabricated. I was quite baffled when I woke up this morning.”
In the text of his Instagram post, Johnson said, “If I ever had an issue with someone, a group, community or a generation — I’d seek them out, create dialogue and do my best to understand them.”
Even before Johnson’s video, commenters on Twitter had questioned whether the actor had really been angered by news stories about millennials that had appeared in the UK media in recent months, as the story claimed.
The story said: “The superstar thinks that while the world has become a more tolerant and better place, whining snowflakes are draining positive change through their constant moaning.”
A quote attributed to Johnson added: “Generation snowflake or, whatever you want to call them, are actually putting us backwards.”
The Star is overseen by the Independent Press Standards Organisation, the UK’s largest regulator of newspapers and magazines.
Its print edition has a daily circulation of 340,000 readers, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, which tracks the performance of UK papers.