Did Keanu Reeves Tweet ‘Be Kind to Animals or I’ll Kill You’?

In June 2019 (not long after the feature film John Wick 3 was released), a purported tweet attributed to Keanu Reeves began circulating on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and meme sites.

Screenshots of what looked like a verified @KeanuReeves account tweeting “be kind to animals or I’ll kill you” spread across social media, followed by a rumor that Reeves’ official account was suspended due to the content of the tweet:

No evidence of the original tweet (such as modified retweets or manual retweets) existed in Twitter search, and no trace engagements on Twitter indicated that Reeves ever maintained a verified account under the handle @KeanuReeves or any other name. The tweet itself appeared to reference the plot of all three John Wick films, predicated on the titular character’s vengeance after his dog is killed.

We were unable to locate any iteration of this rumor with a date, timestamp, like/share count, or any other evidence that it came into existence as a tweet on any account. (The fonts used also look different from Twitter’s native rendering.)

Suspension of an account under the @KeanuReeves handle led people to speculate that Reeves owned the account and the account had been suspended — often followed by a claim the account was suspended specifically because of the “be kind to animals” tweet:

In the circulating screenshot, the purported tweet featured a blue checkmark, indicating a verified account. Verification of the specific account @KeanuReeves would unlikely be granted to anyone other than the actor or official representatives for him.

Several tweets from June 2019 pointed out the handle was suspended, most of which suggested the suspension was because of the “animals” tweet. But a Twitter search once again indicated that an account under that handle was suspended as early as 2017:

In December 2018, Twitter.com/KeanuReeves was archived on Archive.is, indicating the suspension dated back at least that far (and long before the “be kind to animals” tweet’s circulation).

The Wayback Archive, a different site for saving web captures, preserved versions of Twitter.com/KeanuReeves as far back as 2008. Initially, the account had one tweet and was not presented as being owned by Reeves. In 2010, captures were identical to the one two years before.

By 2016, there was some activity on the @KeanuReeves handle, but the account was not verified and clearly did not belong to the actor. The most recent capture of that page was in January 2018, at which time the account had been suspended. There was no indication the account had been restored at any point after January 2018.

We were unable to find any indication @KeanuReeves had ever been claimed by or on behalf of Reeves himself. The “be kind to animals or I’ll kill you” tweet was not tweeted by the actor or (so far as we could see) by the account that was suspended in January 2018. Rumors that Reeves had been recently suspended as of June 2019 were based on a viral screenshot of a nonexistent tweet, and were therefore not accurate.