[UPDATE: Alas, the event wasn't real. See below] Last night the Seattle Space Needle hosted an event to commemorate Royal Dutch Shell plunging its steely barb into the Arctic. New York-based Occupy Wall Street protester Logan Price, who hails from Vashon Island, somehow gained entry and caught this delightful video of a woman getting spewed with liquor shooting from a fake oil rig. Listen to the collective gasp and the crash of monocles that is reserved for wasted liquor and public embarrassment, not the poisoning of nature by millions of gallons of spilled crude. Metaphors!
Price writes for Occupy Seattle:
I guess the photo-op was meant to be a symbolic tapping of the Arctic. There was a ridiculous three-foot-high scale model of their Arctic drilling rig, the Kulluk, and the mini-rig had a tap to pump liquor for the guests.
“The guest of honor was an elderly Japanese man introduced as the original Chief Engineer of the Kulluk rig who used to work at Mitsui back in the '80s. But when the man went to turn on the ‘rig,’ the liquor went everywhere - and the first to be hit was another elderly guest, the widow of the man who'd actually designed the Kulluk back in the 1980s.
“The guy in charge kept asking the old engineer to fix it but he obviously had no idea how to turn it off. Shell's PR people got REALLY worked up, and the designer’s widow started yelling. At this point the guy who was presenting the new ad campaign told me to turn off my camera and got pretty aggressive.
What a mess. This is why we always rent perfectly safe nuclear reactor fountains to make Gamma Ray Gimlets at our parties.
[UPDATE] Adrian Chen finds that the event was a PR stunt by the firm Wainwright & Shore.
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.
And Shell also just released a statement:
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.