Former ‘Bachelorette’ contestant Josh Seiter is ‘alive and well’ after his own Instagram account announced his death

From Josh Seiter/Instagram

Editor’s Note: If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts or mental health matters, please call or text the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline to connect with a trained counselor or visit the Lifeline site.

Josh Seiter, a former contestant on ABC’s dating reality show “The Bachelorette,” says he is “alive and well” after a statement announcing his death was posted to his verified Instagram page on Monday — triggering international coverage.

“As you can see, I am alive and well,” Seiter says in a video posted to his verified Instagram page on Tuesday.

In the video, he claimed his account was “hacked” and that he had been trying “desperately” to get back into it for the last 24 hours.

CNN has reached out to Meta, the tech company that owns Instagram, seeking comment and confirmation of the hack.

“When I saw that I had been hacked and this thing had been posted, and it was designed to appear genuine but it’s really trying to invoke a response from people and troll people, it’s very upsetting to me,” Seiter said in a phone conversation with CNN on Tuesday afternoon.

Multiple outlets had earlier reported Seiter had died at the age of 36 based on a since-deleted statement posted to his page that said, in part, “It is with an extremely heavy heart that we share the tragic news of Joshua’s unexpected passing. As all who knew him can attest, Joshua was an incredibly bright light in an increasingly dim world.”

The statement also included information on resources for those who may be struggling with their mental health, a topic that Seiter has been outspoken about on his social media.

“Somebody was playing a cruel joke and mocking my mental illness and the struggles I’ve gone through with depression and suicide attempts,” he said in his video post. He apologized for the incident and said he’s working to “identify who was behind this.”

“I think it’s egregious, I think it’s disappointing,” Seiter told CNN of the false post about his death. “But I’m not shocked that there’s someone out there (who) thought it was funny to, in this way, make fun of mental illness, make fun of suicide.”

When asked about people who may question the legitimacy of his claim he was hacked, Seiter said, “I have thick skin. If they think that it was a ploy or something, they can think that – it wasn’t. I wasn’t behind it, I’m the victim of it.”

Seiter appeared on Season 11 of “The Bachelorette” in 2015, which was led by former Bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe.

CNN has reached out Bristowe and ABC for comment.

The incident is similar to that of 14-year-old rapper and social media star Lil Tay, whose Instagram account posted a statement earlier this month that falsely announced her death. It was later reported that the rapper was indeed alive, and that her Instagram account had been hacked by a third party.

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