Fact check - private individuals

FACT CHECK: Drag artist Pura Luka Vega is alive


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FACT CHECK: Drag artist Pura Luka Vega is alive
The former 'Drag Den Philippines' contestant is still active on social media as of September 5. There are no official news reports about any death.

Claim: Drag artist Pura Luka Vega, who drew controversy over a drag performance to an “Ama Namin” remix, has died. 

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: A post uploaded on September 3 by the Facebook page “Viral” claims that the drag queen has passed away. As of writing, it has garnered 4,500 reactions, 2,400 comments, and 3,300 shares.

The post included a link supposedly revealing Vega’s cause of death. However, the link redirects to an online shopping page promoting various health supplements claiming to treat irregular periods, cancer, and a range of other ailments. 

The claim was also made on other pages, including a video on the Facebook page “Showbiz Headlines” that drew 12,000 likes, 5,200 comments, and 848,000 views. 

The bottom line: This claim is false. There are no official news reports about Vega’s supposed death. The former “Drag Den Philippines” contestant is still active on social media, with the latest post made on X (formerly Twitter) on September 5.  

Their recent performances were at HQ Poblacion on August 24 and at Apotheka Manila in Makati City last August 20.

Misleading graphics: The art card accompanying the false post maliciously used the logo of the Facebook page “Pilipinas Today.” In a post on September 4, Pilipinas Today denied creating the art card and asked the public to report the page publishing false information using their logo.

Controversial performance: The death hoax began circulating several weeks after Vega faced widespread backlash over a July 10 drag performance to a rock version of the Christian prayer “Ama Namin” while wearing a Black Nazarene costume. 

The viral performance has sparked debates on the boundary of freedom of expression and blasphemy. Since then, Vega, whose legal name is Amadeus Fernando Pagente, has been sued by Christian leaders and declared persona non grata in multiple localities for offending religious feelings. (READ: [OPINION] Art, comedy, and the ‘right’ to offend)

As of writing, the following localities have declared Vega persona non grata:

  1. Bohol
  2. Bukidnon
  3. Cagayan de Oro
  4. Cebu City
  5. Dinagat Islands
  6. Floridablanca, Pampanga
  7. General Santos City
  8. Laguna
  9. Lucena
  10. Mandaue
  11. Manila
  12. Marikina City
  13. Nueva Ecija
  14. Occidental Mindoro
  15. Oriental Mindoro
  16. Toboso, Negros Occidental

  Andrei Santos/Rappler.com

Andrei Santos is a graduate of Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program. This fact check was reviewed by a member of Rappler’s research team and a senior editor. Learn more about Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program here.

Keep us aware of suspicious Facebook pages, groups, accounts, websites, articles, or photos in your network by contacting us at factcheck@rappler.com. Let us battle disinformation one Fact Check at a time.

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