Tag Archives: Space Needle

Amusing Thursday: Funny oil-rig video gets attention

UPDATE, June 8

Greenpeace bloggers have now revealed a few details of the Shell party spoof, which received a lot of attention on the Internet. See JTurner’s blog.

I still think it’s a funny video, even knowing it is fake. But there may some additional fallout for Greenpeace: Anyone who didn’t question statements by Greenpeace before must now be on guard against fraudulent claims by the environmental group, especially when the information comes from Greenpeace bloggers.

They almost got me.

Word on the street this morning was that Logan Price of Occupy Wall Street had wrangled his way into a party last night at the Space Needle involving people connected with Shell oil-drilling operations. Price had a video showing people celebrating the launch of two oil rigs about to leave Seattle for the Alaskan Arctic.

This is in connection with the story I wrote Monday about the Greenpeace ship Esperanza.

On a serving table at the party was a model of an oil rig that was supposed to dispense drinks. Check out the video below.

Quite a few people took the bait and quickly blogged about this ironic video, posting comments such as this one by Tree Hugger, “If Shell can’t even handle a three-foot replica of a rig that pumps booze, how is the company going to fare in the Arctic deep?”

Many other bloggers climbed on board and passed on the video with similar comments, including a blogger for the Seattle P-I. Soon the video spiraled up in the view count.

I was about to post a blog item with my comment, “Didn’t the Shell p.r. types think about the irony if something were to go wrong with the little ‘drilling rig’? Well, you know, Murphy’s Law and all that.”

But I paused to call someone at Shell for a comment and reached company spokeswoman Kayla Macke, who sent me this comment by email:

“Thanks for the call. Please see our response below: 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 did not host, nor participate in an event at the Space Needle and the video does not involve Shell or any of its employees. We continue to focus on a safe exploration season in 2012.”

So was the video a hoax or was Shell just covering up an embarrassing situation? I needed to find out, so I began making more calls and placing more emails to get hold of anyone connected with the Seattle “event.”

Meanwhile, Greenpeace blogger Guy Usher reported that had he contacted some experienced campaigners in Greenpeace International who identified two people in the video. I’m trying to contact Usher to see if he still believes the video is real.

Most bloggers have now reversed their initial comments and reported their belief that the video is a hoax, especially after seeing the evidence compiled by Adrian Chen of Gawker.com.:

“The main proof that this is a hoax comes from the website of Wainwright & Shore, “a full service, integrated marketing public relations and interactive firm” supposedly based in Houston, Texas. Wainwright & Shore boasts “The company donates more than 300 hours of pro bono services to non-profit clients each year.”

“But according to the whois records, the domain was registered just last month. And the clincher: The domain name server is Mayfirst.org, a lefty-radical hosting company which was also used by notorious pranksters the Yes Men to host a fake Bank of America website back in April.”

The latest development, according to a blog on “Ad Age,” is that someone is sending out fake press releases saying Shell plans to sue those responsible for the video.

While this video may be kind of fun for most of us, I guess it could create problems for Shell.

I was planning to post this as an “Amusing Monday” next week, but I’m not sure at the moment whether the video will remain available if YouTube is pressured to take it down, so I decided to post Monday’s blog entry a few days early.