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Arctic drilling opponents host bogus oil company party

A video of an “oil spill” at Seattle’s Space Needle went viral on Youtube over the weekend. At a Shell private party celebrating its new ventures into Arctic drilling, an elderly woman was spewed with soda from an oil-rig-shaped fountain while others tried to stop the flow by blocking it with stuffed polar bears.

This party malfunction was not actually hosted by Royal Dutch Shell, but was a hoax put on by Greenpeace and Yes Labs. In order to bring attention to the drilling in the Arctic, the two activist organizations planned the expensive and elaborate party to seem as realistic as possible, going so far as to include lobster, caviar, bourbon and even actors.

The elderly woman may seem helpless in the video, but she was actually in on the prank along with 30 other volunteers. A participant said it was actually intended that the “spill” continue for some time with the “guests” running around in a panic, but a Space Needle employee quickly unplugged the device.

The joke didn’t just stop with an oil spill at a fake party. It continued when numerous media outlets were fooled by the phony press release allegedly from Shell threatening to sue anyone reposting the video, which tricked more media outlets than the video itself.

Yes Labs and Greenpeace have successfully attracted attention to Shell’s drilling in the Arctic, but not without a significant price to pay. Work on the hoax party started late last winter, and the pricey party ended up costing tens of thousands of dollars.

06/11/2012

 

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