News Anchor Mistakenly Announced Pope Francis' Death, And Twitter Had Jokes

The Two Popes
(Image credit: Netflix)

There are two significant holidays on the Catholic Church’s calendar: Christmas and Easter. One celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ, while the other commemorates his sacrifice on the cross, for all of mankind. Either one of those would be an absolutely terrible day to accidentally slip up and announce the death of the Pope on television, but that’s precisely what a news anchor for ITV did, stumbling over her words at an inopportune time. But social media probably let her off the hook… right? 

So, ITV announcer Kylie Pentelow was doing a story on Christmas Day about the Pope’s annual Christmas address, which he makes from a balcony in Vatican City. Setting the story up, Pentelow said the following: 

Meanwhile, the Pope’s festive address focused on his press for the pandemic to come to an end. He said that vaccines should be made available to those most in need. His death was announced … eh, excuse me.

You can watch it play out here. It’s way more awkward than you were thinking.

Was this some Ron Burgandy level of sabotage by a teleprompter worker? Did Ms. Pentelow think that because it was Christmas Day, no one would be paying attention to her blunder? Unfortunately, this is 2021, and the Internet doesn’t let anyone forget anything. Ever. This lady was initially confused, but definitely heard the slip up.

Many others used this as an opportunity to go all in on as many conspiracy theories as possible, dropping Tweets like this, which is enough to make Dan Brown’s head spin:

And finally, because technology is far too advanced for our human brains to process, this Twitter user blamed it all on DeepFakes. And now I am staring too closely at this video, looking for digital seams:

Listen, there’s no good day to slip up on television and announce the death of a Pope who most certainly is not dead. But the fact that it happened on Christmas Day sort of doubles down on the pain of a publicized error. There were a few Twitter users who piped up support and said things like, “Get that poor lady a drink! We all make mistakes.” But this probably is one she’s going to have a difficult time living down

Now watch, someone is going to dig up a clip from The Simpsons of an international news anchor mistakenly announcing the Pope’s death on Christmas Day, proving that the animators on Fox’s long-running program are truly wizards sent back to us from the future who have been playfully teasing out events that happen, just in animated form. It’s magic, I tell you.

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. He's frequently found on Twitter at @Sean_OConnell. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.