The mainstream media ginned up a storm this morning with false speculation that Chris Brown’s new neck tattoo might depict a battered Rihanna. Thus commenced a wild-goose-chase that set Twitter on its ear and put most celebrity death hoaxes to shame.

The brilliant minds over at ThinkProgress  took the bait hook,  line, and sinker:

Of course, we can’t count on ThinkProgress for creativity. For that we need the help of the general public:

There were a number of normal people, without the benefit of journalism degrees, who figured out exactly what the image depicted. It’s a half-alive skull to depict the Mexican holiday of Dio de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). Some even posted (gasp!) photographic evidence!

Chris Brown's new neck tattoo resembles this face ART! on Twitpic

Brown later confirmed this, and that should have been the end of it.  But there are  those who still haven’t gotten the memo. This one was re-posted at 8:31 p.m. Eastern Time:

Now, we at Twitchy don’t condone violence against women, and frankly we dislike Chris Brown’s music almost as much as we detest his treatment of his girlfriend (or is it his former girlfriend?). But that said, it’s not RiRi, people! It’s not even a battered woman. In fact, if it were on anyone else’s neck, condemnations of the image would probably be labelled anti-Hispanic.

Some people never learn.