Howie Mandel Breaks Silence as Rumors Spread That He’s Being “Held Captive”

Kayla Keegan

From Good Housekeeping

  • America's Got Talent judge Howie Mandel wants the world to know that he's doing just fine.

  • After the AGT star posted a satirical TikTok clip, some online thought Howie might be calling for help.

  • Howie clarified in both a new TikTok video and to Buzzfeed News that he's okay.

Howie Mandel is setting the record straight about a disturbing conspiracy theory floating around online.

Apparently, one of his latest TikTok videos prompted some folks to believe he is in need of rescuing. The TikTok in question, posted on July 3, shows Howie cutting up a paper grocery bag and labeling it "shoe stuff." After showing off his new "craft," he quipped at the end of the clip that his followers should "keep tuning in" for more DIY ideas.

The video, as he told Buzzfeed News, was meant to poke fun at folks who were "making banana bread and tie-dyeing" during quarantine. But while some may have gotten the America's Got Talent judge's joke, others thought the TikTok was a sign of trouble. A few viral Tiktoks emerged with hashtags like #savehowiemandel and messages asking about his wellbeing.

In particular, a TikTok from user @baldiyadi claimed that there were multiple clues in Howie's video that make it seem like he is being "held captive." The influencer points to things like Howie's lifeguard sweatshirt that reads "Santa Monica," alleging that it's his way of giving away his location. The TikTok user also maintained that Howie is specifically pointing to the letters "SOS" after writing "shoe stuff" on the paper bag. So far, @baldiyadi's clip has amassed over twenty million views.

After getting wind of safety concerns floating around online, Howie felt it was necessary to clarify on TikTok that he is doing just fine. While jokingly making "signs" with his body, Howie declared, "I have not been kidnapped, thank you all for worrying."

That said, his video still didn't do the trick for some folks. The comment section on Howie's new video is filled with users saying things like, "You took a little bit too long to say this Howie 🤨" and "seems suspicious tbh. he doesn't sound sincere."

Talking with Buzzfeed News though, Howie proclaimed once and for all that he's okay. "If I was held captive — and I’ve never been held captive before — I would imagine they would not allow me on TikTok," Howie told the outlet.

Recognizing that some of the fears for his safety may have been legitimate, he later added that he sincerely appreciates the concern.

"I didn’t really understand. … I’m just a comedian and a father and someone who’s bored and doing silly things online," he said. "To know that someone is genuinely concerned, my heart goes out to you, and I thank you for your concern ... [but] I'm fine."

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