So what was the story behind Friday’s Occupy Wall Street Radiohead hoax?

Many of us are still scratching our heads about last Friday. As you will recall, Radiohead were rumored to play a show at Lower Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park to support the Occupy Wall Street protests. Throughout the day, it became more and more clear that this wasn’t happening, despite confirmation from the Occupy Wall Street organizers, saying they were in direct contact with the band. Later on, they admitted that they were victims of a hoax.

Over the weekend, the Village Voice posted the fake email which started the whole thing, supposedly from Radiohead manager Bryce Edge:

From: Bryce Edge
Date: Thursday, September 29, 2011
Subject: RE: Radiohead @ Occupy Wall Street
Dear Occupiers,

My name is Bryce Edge, and I’m one of the managers for the band
Radiohead. The guys are really impressed with what you have managed to
pull off, and they wanted to stop by and play a couple songs in
support before leaving New York. I don’t want to create a big media
circus that might worry the police or endanger what you’ve built, plus
the band wants to play for the people who have been camped out, not
everyone in New York who didn’t get a ticket for Thursday’s show. I
was told this was the committee to email – do you think this would be
possible? They have some unscheduled time Friday afternoon between 4
and 6, would that work? I read that the police aren’t allowing sound
equipment, but they could do acoustic. Let me know.

Bryce Edge

Courtyard Productions, Inc
8383 Wilshire Boulevard # 526
Beverly Hills, CA 90211-2425

Yesterday, Gothamist posted an email from the supposed “trickster” (pun intended) who says he started the rumor to get people to come down to the protests:

Yeah, you found me, but I’ll be taking my story to the Times freelancer who got arrested on the bridge yesterday instead. To the gutsy go the spoils. I’m not an “organizer” or a provocateur, I’m an occupier who tried something, like a lot of us are. The whole occupation was a bluff by Canadians in the beginning anyway. If you continue to think of the only acting bodies as the organizers and self-declared spokespeople, you’ll continue to miss what’s happening. The prank was to give folks an excuse to go to Zuccotti, and although I’m sure I’m terribly sorry for all the pain and suffering I’ve caused apolitical Radiohead fans, it worked, and now our numbers are larger and growing. But it was also to illustrate the buffoonery of self-important spokespeople and committees. This is what happens when two people get put in charge of something (the vaguely tyrannical “Arts and Culture committee”) and empower themselves to speak “officially.” Now they’ve put one person in charge of communications. There are left authoritarians too, they’re a vocal minority, but they don’t speak for me or plenty of others.

So this is a call for more humor, more pranks, more of that good old anon shit at Occupy Wall Street and at the other occupations springing up around the country. It’s not that hard, it’s a lot more fun than long meetings, and it’ll work.

NOTE: This email is for publication in its entirety or not at all. None of that out-of-context lamestream media trickery. As a precautionary measure, I’ve CC’ed the comrades at Gothamist, who seem totally prepared to call you out for even the appearance of violating source instructions. You, of course, don’t have to publish this note, but I imagine they probably will.

Officially yours,

J. Erin Stubbie


Radiohead to play for Wall St. protestors today? [UPDATE – Nope]

Zuccotti Park
Christopher Robbins/Gothamist

Gawker is reporting the following rumor:

The Occupy Wall Street protesters camped out in Lower Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park are buzzing over a big secret musical guest scheduled to play this afternoon at around 4pm. We hear that it’s Radiohead, who are in New York for a couple concerts.

It makes sense: Radiohead’s lead singer Thom Yorke has a history of lefty anti-globalization protest. What do you think: Are the millionaires from Radiohead authentic enough to be the bards of revolution? They’re certainly capable of mobilizing people: When their New York show sold out in minutes they almost caused a Twitter riot.

Hmmmm… Again this is just a rumor. Stay tuned…

UPDATE: This has been confirmed.

UPDATE AGAIN: Radiohead’s PR agency, Nasty Little Man, just tweeted the following:

RADIOHEAD IS NOT PLAYING WALL STREET TODAY nor were they ever confirmed to do so.

Very weird. From Gawker:

However, an Occupy Wall Street spokesman insists the show will go on and that organizers have email confirmation that Radiohead will be playing an acoustic set at 4pm. “What we think is happening is they don’t want a lot of people to come,” he said. “Trust me, we have confirmation.” CNN is now reporting that the show is happening as well; what might happen if Radiohead doesn’t show up could be more interesting than if they did.

UPDATE 2:19 PM ET: From Gothamist:

A source with also maintains that Radiohead WILL play, and that the band’s management has “officially” denied any performance because the band wanted this to be “only for the protesters.” A spokesperson for the Mayor’s office has not responded to requests for comment, but police have put in new barricades at Wall Street and Nassau.

The possibility of a big, disorganized free concert calls to mind the great Drake shitshow concert at the South Street Seaport last year, and the Justin Bieber mall riot!

We’re getting the sense that Radiohead may have wanted to show up unannounced and play for the demonstrators, but someone connected with the protest leaked it to Gawker to get the publicity they’re now savoring.

 UPDATE: 3:15 PM ET: From Radiohead:

We wish the best of luck to the protesters there, but contrary to earlier rumours, we will not be appearing today at Occupy Wall Street

UPDATE: 3:55 PM ET: From Gothamist:

Patrick Bruner, the Occupy Wall Street spokesman who earlier confirmed the concert, emails, “I got hoaxed. Radiohead was never confirmed. Completely our fault. Apologies. The band were victims in this hoax as well.”

What a complete mess this turned out to be.


(thanks to Dave)