The internet was up in arms today when a suspicious looking press release announced the alleged arrest of Britain's uber-famous street artist, Banksy. Rumors quickly circulated that the graffitist, known to decorate walls around the world with his tongue-in-cheek social criticism, had not only been apprehended, but his identity had also been revealed.
But it turns out the "news" of Banksy's arrest was just one giant hoax, likely orchestrated by a savvy online troll who takes joy in seeing media outlets report the faux news. As Business Insider confirmed, the London Metropolitan Police did not in fact nab the elusive street artist nor did they reveal his real name (Paul Horner, really?).
The perpetrator behind the internet scuffle has yet to be found, and many an online news organization are issuing corrections to amend their hasty reporting. So what's the lesson to be learned? That Banksy is an unstoppable force of nature and he should never be underestimated, much less thought to possess such a prosaic name as "Paul"? Or maybe that trolls will be trolls, even in the art world, and we should collect more information instead of jumping at easy bait.
While we all mull over this hilarious scandal, here's a Twitter round-up of some of the most entertaining responses to Banksygate 2013. In other, actually real, news, this British neighborhood still wants its Banksy artwork back.