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Bachelorette Alum Josh Seiter Has Few Answers in ‘Hacked’ Instagram Account & Death Hoax

Bachelorette Alum Josh Seiter Has Few Answers in ‘Hacked’ Instagram Account & Death Hoax

Josh Seiter

Although he had access to any number of media organizations he saidhis focus was on regaining access to his account so he could tell the world he was okay.

Days after Josh Seiter, a bisexual former contestant on The Bachelorette in 2015, was reported dead online only to be “alive and well” less than 24 hours later, the reality TV star is facing tough questions -- and has few specific answers -- about exactly what happened.

After Seiter claimed that his account had been hacked, many people online and in the media questioned whether the episode was staged. Seiter denied that he was behind the post about his death and told The Advocate that he’s sorry for anyone affected by the incident, but he's ready to move on.

A post attributed to the 36-year-old former reality star’s family announced his death Monday on his verified Instagram account, mentioning the 988 suicide lifeline as a clue without disclosing a cause of death. The news that Seiter had died spread rapidly across news outlets Monday evening.

A day later, Seiter posted a video on Instagram saying his account had been compromised. He also deleted the previous post.

"As you can see, I am alive and well. My account was hacked for the last 24 hours. I’ve been trying desperately to get into it,” he said. “Somebody was playing a cruel joke and mocking my mental illness and the struggles I’ve gone through with depression and suicide attempts, and I’m sorry for all the pain they caused when they made that post. I just got back into my account. I’m going to do all I can with my team to try to identify who is behind this, but again, I apologize for the confusion and I will update you guys as more facts come in.”

He turned users’ ability to comment on the post off.

The Advocate spoke with Seiter on Wednesday morning about the initial post and what he said happened.

Seiter said he had just traveled from Chicago to his hometown Monday afternoon when he tapped the Instagram icon on his phone, and the app prompted him for login information instead of taking him to his account.

He said that around 4 p.m., the system denied him access and that he couldn’t get into his account after checking to ensure he had the proper credentials.

Seiter said he soon started receiving text messages with screenshots from concerned contacts inquiring about his well-being.

Seiter said he did reply to a few concerned people to tell them he was fine, but he refused to provide their names or contact information to The Advocate, citing their privacy and aversion to speaking with the press.

After recognizing that something was wrong with his account, Seiter said his anxiety began to set in.

“I spent the next 19, 20 hours frantically trying to get back into my account,” he explained. “That was my main priority because although I could individually respond to messages from family and friends, I felt like the best way to universally let everyone know that I’m okay was to get back control of my account.”

He said he regained access to his account around 1 p.m. Central time on Tuesday, which enabled him to delete the erroneous post and upload a proof-of-life video.

“But, you know, the damage was already done, and it’s kind of took on a life of its own,” he said.

In response to a question about how he regained access to his account, Seiter gave inconsistent answers.

He said he needed help from friends in accessing his Instagram account because he is not technologically savvy.

As a “lowly mental health advocate,” he said he doesn’t have a team of people to assist him with his affairs.

“I called upon and relied upon some friends of mine that are a little more technologically savvy and had them try to figure out if they could find out what the problem was or how to get me back in,” he said. “So we tried a few things, [but] I don’t want to get too specific because it’s sensitive information, and I was already compromised once, but my friends were able to get me back into the account, thankfully.”

He added, “I wish I could elucidate and crystallize the issue perfectly for everybody. I know that my information was not working when we tried it for the first 18 or 19 hours, and then, somehow, it was finally working the next day.

But later, during his interview with The Advocate, he said that a family member with experience at a tech company solved his access issue.

“I relied on a family member who is fairly high up and worked in Silicon Valley and knows how to do computer programming and things like that,” Seiter said, adding, “They’re an entrepreneur and speak in front of the government, and I relied on them and some other people to help me with things. I did not pick their brains as to exactly what they did.”

He continues, “All I know is that the next day, when I tried to log in, it finally worked. So, I guess you’d have to interview them if you wanted to get the answers to those questions. But I really can’t shed any more light on it. I wish I could.”

But after agreeing to provide contact information for the person who allegedly assisted in restoring his account, Seiter later declined to provide that information.

“I’m not in the business of giving out people’s personal information. Not everyone likes talking to journalists,” he replied in an email to a follow-up inquiry.

Seiter said he understands that people are critical of the time it took him to notify people that he was, in fact, not dead.

Seiter bristled at the suggestion that he could have reached out to several media organizations to set the record straight rather than waiting to regain control of the Instagram account.

He also said that he doesn’t use other social media platforms like Twitter or Facebook for mental health reasons, which he claims to have left in 2017. Seiter has an OnlyFans account that appears untouched from the incident.

“It’s so easy for people to opine what they think other people should do in certain situations that they themselves would never find themselves in. So it’s easy to criticize and easy to say, ‘Oh, I would have done this, or I would have done that,’” he said. “The course of action that I chose at that moment as myself having been hacked, dealing with anxiety, taking medication, having panic attacks during the situation was not ‘Hey TMZ, what’s up? It’s Josh.’ I wanted to first calm down, get ahold of myself, and figure out my main priority, which was getting control of my account.”

RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 5 star Monica Beverly Hillz called Seiter out, claiming that he made the hacking incident up to get attention after the two broke up.

She told Entertainment Weekly that the two were dating until recently, and although they broke up, she would have expected him to call her. She told the outlet that after their breakup, Seiter blocked her and that although she texted him to see if he was alright, he did not respond.

Seiter denied that the two had a romantic relationship. “That’s not my ex,” he said. “I hung out with them three times, and I’ve had more physical contact with my mother than I did with them.”

He acknowledged that criticism he’s receiving is valid, but that “I think there are 101 ways that other people may have approached the situation.”

He added, “I thought and still think in hindsight that the decision I made to focus on getting my account back was the best because as soon as I got it back, I was able to post and let everyone know that I was okay.”

Ultimately, Seiter insists that he did not have access to the Instagram page when he was reported dead.

“I’m not sure the nuances of what went on and why I was locked out or why I was kicked out,” he said. “I don’t know if Meta or the platform temporarily restricted my access to the account. I don’t know if a third party went into the account, changed something, and then changed it back. So I wish I could provide a magic answer to what happened, but if I knew that, I don’t think we would have been in this position in the first place.”

Seiter said that he wasn’t asked to pay a ransom, and he’s skeptical that he fell for a phishing scam, though he said he can’t exclude the possibility that he clicked on a bad link.

“I have [obsessive compulsive disorder], so I checked multiple times. I’m actually usually pretty good at ferreting out things like that,” he said. “I’m very suspicious of clicking on links, but it’s possible when I was watching porn or something, I might have clicked on a link, but to my knowledge, no.”

Meta, the parent company of Instagram, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

If you are having thoughts of suicide or are concerned that someone you know may be, resources are available to help. The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 is for people of all ages and identities. Trans Lifeline, designed for transgender or gender-nonconforming people, can be reached at (877) 565-8860. The lifeline also provides resources to help with other crises, such as domestic violence situations. The Trevor Project Lifeline, for LGBTQ+ youth (ages 24 and younger), can be reached at (866) 488-7386. Users can also access chat services at or text START to 678678.

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