Despite a report published this morning claiming the contrary, the near-mythical street artist Banksy has not been arrested by the London Metropolitan Police.
The false story stemmed from US website National Report and alleged that the identity of the social activist has been revealed to be 35-year-old Liverpudlian Paul Hunter. The site also claimed that he was being held “without bail on charges of vandalism, conspiracy, racketeering and counterfeiting” and published an alleged mugshot.
Banksy's publicist Jo Brooks has since told The Independent that the report is a hoax (indeed, the author's previous articles includes 'Dennis Rodman Leaves US To Talk With Leaders Of Isis'). Still, the fake news caused a Twitter frenzy with duped users taking to the social network to vent their anger with the police. Among the more high profile people to be fooled was former Conservative MP Louise Mensch.
You have to be kidding me, @metpoliceuk. Banksy? There are so many criminals out there, Banksy? The great artist?
— Louise Mensch (@LouiseMensch) October 20, 2014
24hour police surveillance, to catch Banksy! What a complete waste of tax paying money! How is thought provoking art a crime! Absolute joke!
— Connor Payne (@payne_connor) October 20, 2014
banksy's art isnt mindless vandalism, its art put there to provoke thought in people and he doesnt deserve to be arrested for making art
— sav (@billyrayanus) October 20, 2014
Bansky arrested in London. Name and mugshot revealed. A sad day for privacy and art. http://t.co/VqsuF0sy8d
— Damian (@hernaez) October 20, 2014
British police deployed a 24-hour Anti-Graffiti Task Force to go after Banksy. He was a greater threat, it seems, than crooked bankers…..
— Vijay Prashad (@vijayprashad) October 20, 2014
There was plenty of reaction to Banksy's supposed Liverpool origins.
So apparently Banksy is a Scouser? Not a big surprise really, although I always thought he was from Bristol.
— Owen (@or84) October 20, 2014
Bit sad that Banksy's identity has been revealed, the anonymity of his work is what makes it so special. But.. he's from liverpool.. Oh ye!
— Lucy Chappers (@LucyChapman3) October 20, 2014
Banksy was always gunna be a scouser someone that boss had to be
— Round The Bend (@ROUNDTHEBEND_) October 20, 2014
The eagle-eyed, however, spotted holes in the reports.
http://t.co/TlyxZTSlJM I'm mad that anyone fell for that Banksy arrested photo cos look at how terrible the clipping is around this image.
— Countess Butts (@Bubblenoma) October 20, 2014
— Capulaanimteyze (@gullusum) October 20, 2014
But once the story proved to be false, there was lols to be had.
I think Banksy should just give himself up, like John Doe in Se7en.
— Paddy Considine (@PaddyConsidine) October 20, 2014
The original Banksy died in the 90s, and was replaced by a teenage boy, a cyborg, a man in a steel suit and an angry man with sunglasses.
— Sexy Jamie McKelvie (@McKelvie) October 20, 2014
BANKSY UNMASKED. pic.twitter.com/KXidHNPsn7
— Andy Kelly (@ultrabrilliant) October 20, 2014
Banksy piece image via Shutterstock