The Museum of Hoaxes
hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive
 
Use your left ear to detect lies
The Man-Eating Tree of Madagascar Hoax, 1874
Taco Bells buys the Liberty Bell, 1996
Jean Gauntt, the Immortal Baby, 1939
Old-Time Photo Fakery, 1900 to 1919
The Hoaxing Hitchhiker, 1941
Vilcabamba, the town of very old people, 1978
Cursed by Allah
Pierre Brassau, Monkey Artist, 1964
Paul Krassner's Stereophonic Hoax, 1960
The Yes Men’s Bhopal Hoax, 2004
On December 3, 2004 the BBC broadcast an interview with Jude Finisterra, who claimed to be a representative of Dow Chemical. The date was the 20th anniversary of the chemical disaster in Bhopal, and the BBC had sought out a representative from Dow to speak about the tragedy since Dow had inherited responsibility for the disaster via a corporate acquisition.

During the interview, Mr. Finisterra shocked the BBC's audience when he said that not only had Dow decided to accept full responsibility for the incident, but that it was going to pay $12 billion in compensation to the victims. In response to the news, Dow's stock value promptly dropped.

However, soon after the interview, Dow contacted the BBC and informed them they had no idea who Mr. Finisterra was. The BBC had been hoaxed. Subsequently, the BBC discovered that the man they had spoken to was actually Andy Bichlbaum of the Yes Men group. 'Finisterra' was a made-up name meaning 'the end of the world'.

The BBC had fallen into the Yes Men's trap because, while searching for someone at Dow to interview about the Bhopal disaster, its researchers had confused Dow's official website (Dow.com) with a copycat version created by the Yes Men (dowethics.com). The BBC had sent an email to the contact info listed on DowEthics.com, requesting an interview, and the Yes Men had happily complied.
Commenting is no longer available for this post.


All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.