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This would’ve been a very different project if YACHT had merely said they were selling a sex tape for money, but by claiming to be shocked and violated — and then thanking fans when they offered support — YACHT falsely stripped themselves of their agency.Then, by "taking control" of the story, YACHT positioned themselves as heroes, willing to put on a brave face and benefit from a horrible experience.Yesterday morning, the Los Angeles band YACHT released a statement on Facebook saying that a sex tape made by the band’s two members (Claire L. "We assumed that we were the only people who would be privy to that video," the band wrote. The band later announced that they would "take ownership" of the video by selling it, and asked fans to pay to download it. For us, that’s a shame." The statement received an outpouring of sympathy from fans and famous friends.But by this morning, Jezebel had confirmed the leak was a hoax, and that no sex tape had ever existed at all.As people started to slowly realize that the leak was nothing more than a wrongheaded publicity stunt, reactions to it were almost uniformly negative.They told an awful lie to thousands of fans, and these fans almost uniformly responded with sympathy and outrage, only to later find out they had been duped.
Some outlets, like Pitchfork and Vulture, reported the "leak" as straight news, and there is a point to be made that maybe this story (that two people consensually filmed themselves having sex) was never news in the first place.But there’s a difference between tricking Anderson Cooper into thinking a news outlet misquoted him and tricking a bunch of people into thinking you’re going through an agonizing violation of privacy.Bechtolt and Evans are smart; their work usually plays with technology and the darker side of the future.But, perhaps unintentionally, YACHT proved that it’s almost impossible to control a story once you put it out on the internet.YACHT is a savvy band, they understand the way information is transmitted on the internet, but this time, they critically misjudged their audience and the dynamics of social media.