- Prankster activists "The Yes Men" distributed fabricated Washington Post newspapers to commuters in Washington, DC on Wednesday.
- The group also created a fake website meant to look like the Post's.
WASHINGTON — Pranksters distributed fabricated copies of the Washington Post newspaper to commuters in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday depicting the removal of President Donald Trump from office.
The left-wing performative activist group "The Yes Men," who frequently craft elaborate hoaxes and pranks, were behind the fake Washington Post papers, which activists handed out at D.C.'s Union Station and the Farragut North Metro station in downtown Washington.
The Yes Men, along with activist trickster L.A. Kauffman and author Onnesha Roychoudhuri, created the fake paper and the stories on its accompanying website meant to look like the Post's own site. The fake website also linked to the Washington Post in the "About Us" and "Contact the Post" sections.
The newspaper twisted the Post's slogan "Democracy Dies in Darkness" to read "Democracy Awakens in Action" and featured false articles about Trump's removal from office, the swearing-in of Vice President Mike Pence, and crediting the #MeToo movement and other activism with his ouster.
"Worldwide, impromptu street parties popped up in major cities and small towns as people realized the American president had fled," said one of the fake articles. "As news spread of what appeared to be the first U.S. presidential resignation since Richard Nixon, crowds from Buenos Aires to Cape Town waved American flags, played American music, and congratulated the United States."
"The story this paper tells is more reasonable than our current reality," Roychoudhuri said in a statement on the Yes Men's website. "And it's anything but far-fetched. We're already seeing unprecedented levels of protest and resistance. Now we just need to ask ourselves: What's next? This paper offers a blueprint to help us reclaim our democracy."
"This newspaper is a fantasy," said Kauffman. "But it's rooted in both reality and scholarship. Our stories build on real-world resistance to Trump and insights about how ordinary people can dislodge an unfit leader."
The group tipped off the liberal activist group MoveOn about their stunt, which posted photos of the activists handing out the fake newspapers to Instagram early in the morning.
The Washington Post's public relations team posted on Twitter to make clear the papers were not theirs and that they would be looking into the matter.
"There are fake print editions of The Washington Post being distributed around downtown DC, and we are aware of a website attempting to mimic The Post's," the statement read. "They are not Post products, and we are looking into this."