After rumors swirled that Justin Bieber was considering making a move to Atlanta, a local radio station pulled off the ultimate hoax, duping the likes of CNN, TMZ, Gawker, Time and the BBC, among other media outlets.
According to CNN, a morning show on Atlanta station Rock 100.5 called “The Regular Guys” created a fake neighborhood group and convinced a total of 33 international outlets that the “Buckhead Neighborhood Coalition” was protesting against the pop singer putting down roots in Atlanta following his recent trouble with the law.
The hoax reportedly generated a whopping 45,000 news stories.
Tim Andrews from “The Regular Guys” played the role of Harold White in the interviews with major outlets such as the BBC and pretended to be the face of the fictitious protest.
Speaking with CNN, Andrews (as White) said, “We’re concerned he’ll bring the wrong type of element into a quiet, residential area. It is our position that a person with his means could certainly find a neighborhood more suited to his eclectic lifestyle.”
Following the protest, which took place in front of an on-the-market mansion, the show’s host Larry Wachs admitted Monday that the whole scheme had been a hoax and called the prank “a big win.”
Bieber’s reps have not commented on the rumored move.
Here are just some of the outlets who reported the story via iMediaEthics.com (most of whom have yet to update their story):
- Time reported on the protest, citing WSB-TV’s report.
- WSBTV reported on the “thinly attended protest” and quoted the Atlanta Journal Constitution
- The BBC
- NYPost was hoaxed, quoting CNN’s report.
- The Guardian
- The Atlanta Journal Constitution
- New York Daily News citing TMZ
- The Hollywood Reporter
- The Blaze
- New Zealand Herald
- ABC Local WLS-TV Chicago
- Gossip Cop
- The UK Mirror
- Mercury News
- Sky News
- National Post
- UK Metro
- Calgary Sun
- The Toronto Star
- The Inquisitr
- Complex published a story citing CNN
- Perez Hilton
- Yahoo Celebrity
- CBS Local Atlanta