Published May 10, 2016Long-running electronic pop duo YACHT tricked the whole internet yesterday (May 9) when they pretended to be victims of a sex tape leak surrounding members (and longtime romantic partners) Claire L. Evans and Jona Bechtolt. Now, the whole stunt has been revealed to be a hoax.
On their Facebook page yesterday, the group revealed that they had been victims of a hack and had a sex tape stolen and released online. As Jezebel now reports, the duo's Claire L. Evans previously emailed a Gawker writer to explain the plan for the hoax:
For the upcoming music video for our song, "I Wanna Fuck You Til I'm Dead," we're faking a sex tape leak.
In the days leading up to the video's release, we're going to pretend we were hacked, share and delete confessional social media posts on the subject of our privacy, then try to "get out in front of it" and sell the sex tape, fake a server crash, etc.
Certainly, in the age of Nathan for You, online hoaxes can be a lot of fun. While that show uses people's selfishness to launch its humour, however, this online joke has relied on the sympathy and kindness of YACHT's fans to go viral.
For one, many have pointed out that YACHT used the often tragic practice of revenge porn to promote their own music. Then, when they later decided to "release the tape on their site," they were lauded for their own bravery and championed for their sex-positive approach to the supposed privacy breach.
The temporary site set up to legally download the YACHT sex tape for profit was a victim of a false "server crash," meaning users would enter their full credit card information to get the video before receiving a 404 error. While it's unlikely that YACHT saved users' credit card numbers, it doesn't exactly spell out safe online shopping.
Perhaps the prank was intended to make a somewhat valid statement about the fickle nature of online news cycles. In their initial statement, YACHT suggested that it's not about the music anymore, saying, "Music isn't art anymore, it's just content." While that's a valid point, YACHT have never been a band to shy away from non-musical gimmickry. They've sold novelty sunglasses and apps, and in one press cycle they even reinvented themselves as a cult.
The band's initial statement rubbed many the wrong way because it was so believable. In one line, they channelled Jian Ghomeshi's real-life Facebook sex confession by writing, "Our tastes in the bedroom might seem uncommon to some, and possibly off-putting."
Further, the band's circle has in fact been rocked by a real-life scandal. Adam Forkner, better known as White Rainbow, has been a collaborator of YACHT's in the past. Earlier this year, he was accused of violent domestic assault and subsequently dropped from his record label. At the time, some of us here at Exclaim! thought that he could have been the "morally abject" person who supposedly leaked the sex tape.
Due to the hoax, a large swath of the Internet have turned their backs on YACHT. Even Kim Kardashian appears to be subtweeting them.
YACHT have not yet responded to the controversy, but they did just release a new music video on Pornhub. If you can stop rolling your eyes long enough to watch it, go here.
UPDATE (03/10, 3:30 p.m.): YACHT have released a statement defending their hoax. You can read the text here or via the screenshot below.