LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - People magazine said on Tuesday that a cover apparently featuring "Twilight" actor Taylor Lautner coming out as a gay man was "100 percent fake."
"The cover in question is 100 percent fake. This began as a ridiculous Twitter joke that went viral," said People Magazine spokeswoman Julie Farin.
The fake People cover, dated Jan 7 2012, was circulated on the Internet over the holidays. It featured a picture of Lautner, 19, with text saying "Tired of rumors, the Twilight star opens up about his decision to finally come out."
Social media sites circulated the fake cover, with celebrities like Def Jam's co-founder Russell Simmons tweeting their congratulations to the "Twilight" actor before realizing the hoax.
"Disappointed that people would joke about someone coming out about their sexuality. Let Taylor Lautner be whoever he wants to be," Simmons said in a later tweet Monday.
A representative for Lautner, who previously dated country singer Taylor Swift, did not respond to requests for comment.
The authors of the hoax were not immediately known.
Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Jill Serjeant