The American satire website National Report had claimed in a news piece that the man behind the pseudonym was 35-year-old Paul Horner, from Liverpool. The story was accompanied by a mug shot and went on to claim that Banksy was arrested on charges of “vandalism, conspiracy, racketeering and counterfeiting.”
“The Banksy arrest is a hoax,” the street artist’s publicist, Jo Brooks has told The Independent.
This was yet another prank that seems to have duped the internet, with his name quickly trending on Twitter.
The story claimed that the Police had raided Banksy’s London art studio, where “thousands of dollars of counterfeit money along with future projects of vandalism” were found, along with ID thought to belong to the renowned yet anonymous street artist, which was stated allegedly identified him as Liverpool-born Paul Homer.
I is surprising that the story was taken so seriously when considering the journalistic content of the National Report. The website holds such articles as ‘Obama To Auction Off All Marijuana Seized In Drug Raids Since Taking Office’ and ’17 Texas Kindergarteners Contract Ebola After Exposure To Liberian Foreign Exchange Student, Both news stories of which are also false.
Yet the story of the artist’s arrest caused an outraged storm of protest from many commentators on various social media. Twitter users strongly criticized the London’s Metropolitan Police; claiming that the force was wasting resources on catching a street artist when there were more important crimes to investigate.