Update: Greenpeace, the Yes Lab and members of the Occupy Wall Street movement are claiming responsibility to the series of hoaxes on Shell Oil.
“This experience shows that a few energized people can compete with the billions that Shells spends on advertising and lobbying,” James Turner, a Greenpeace organizer, said. “As people find out how this oil company is exploiting global warming to cause yet more global warming, thus endangering everyone, they won’t allow it, no matter how many billions Shell has in its war chest.”
The video also claims the woman featured in the video was Dorli Rainey, 84, who was pepper sprayed during an Occupy Seattle protest in November. A photo of Rainey immediately after being pepper sprayed became an iconic photo of the Occupy movement.
Shell Oil didn’t have the week it might have expected.
Instead of just highlighting its Arctic training, the oil giant had to deal with a series of elaborate hoaxes, including one that briefly went viral on the web, over the past two days.
An Occupy Wall Street protester named Logan Price allegedly shot and posted a video that showed an elderly woman being showered by liquor at a Shell Oil launch party after an alcohol dispenser in the shape of the Kulluk oil rig malfunctioned.
The video, which fooled Gizmodo, Seattle Post Intelligencer and others, received a half a million views in a day, but it was just an elaborate hoax.
The domain name server was traced back to Mayfrist.org, a radical hosting company that was also used by pranksters to host a fake Bank of America site in April, according to Gawker.
Shell quickly distanced themselves from the video.
“Recently groups that oppose Shell’s plans in offshore Alaska have posted a fraudulent video that appears to show Shell employees at an event at the Seattle Space Needle,” Shell spokeswoman Kayla Macke told Gawker. “Shell did not host, nor participate in an event at the Space Needle and the video does not involve Shell or any of its employees.”
If it stopped there, Shell might be happy.
Instead, an email was sent out by firstname.lastname@example.org that threatened legal action against the group of activists who staged the counterfeit event and were tweeting things out under the hashtag #shellfail.
Like the video, the email appeared to be from Shell, but it wasn’t.
Several people had been tweeting out a link to an online video game called Angry Bergs that appears on a page very similar to Shell Oil’s company website. The game pits an oil rig against arctic bergs and shows players how much money they made drilling for oil.
So someone hoaxed a hoax. Does that mean it really happened?