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Fake Shell Press Release Issued About Fake Shell Event

Scott Detrow / StateImpact Pennsylvania

An antique Shell gasoline pump at an Ohio oil and gas museum

It is an interesting day to be a reporter.

Earlier today, a video surfaced purportedly showing a Shell party gone horribly wrong. A miniature  oil rig modeled after the equipment Shell will use to drill in the Arctic Ocean suffered a blowout of sorts, and spilled liquor all over the oil giant’s guests.

Turns out, the video was an elaborate fake. But StateImpact Pennsylvania was fooled and briefly linked to the video before the good folks at Gawker and Jalopnik debunked it.

Later in the day, we received what appeared to be a press release from Shell. It looked legit – it had Shell’s legal disclaimers, phone numbers, and everything — and threatened legal action against the group who filmed the video. The email came from “alerts@shell.com”

Lawyers operating on behalf of Royal Dutch Shell plc. (Shell) are considering formal action against unknown activists who staged a counterfeit campaign launch event at the Seattle Space Needle.

The groups released a stream of social media content, with the defamatory hashtag #shellfail, which deliberately misrepresents the safety of Shell’s drill rigs heading to the Arctic, and extensively violated Shellâ•˙s intellectual property rights.

Shell is monitoring the spread of potentially defamatory material on the internet and reporters are advised to avoid publishing such material.

These activists’ tactics stand in marked contrast to Shell’s transparency regarding the safety of Shell’s Arctic efforts. Earlier this week, Shell hosted Alaskan Governor Sean Parnell and Senator Lisa Murkowski on a safety tour of the Kulluk rig, during which the Senator and Governor were soundly impressed by the Kulluk’s cutting-edge safety mechanisms.

But having been fooled once, we called Shell to confirm the legitimacy of the press release. And a Shell spokeswoman says…. the company didn’t put the press release out.

So there you go….a fake response to a fake video. Welcome to the Internet.

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