Posted: 4:03 pm Monday, February 24th, 2014

The Regular Guys’ Justin Bieber protest hoax goes viral worldwide 

By Rodney Ho

Rock 100.5 morning show The Regular Guys duped hundreds of media outlets this past weekend by creating a fake protest of Justin Bieber’s possible new residence in Buckhead.

regular guys reportingFrom TMZ to the local TV news stations to international media, stories about the protest posted without question before the Regular Guys revealed the hoax at 8:50 a.m. this morning. (The only suspicious media outlet was Creative Loafing.)

You can listen to the reveal here.

Larry Wachs of the Regular Guys last week was talking on air about Bieber considering a home in Buckhead. He mentioned that maybe Buckhead residents should protest the pop star’s possible arrival into their neighborhood.

So the morning show’s intern crew created a Facebook page representing the fake “Buckhead Neighborhood Coalition” and set up a fictional protest. This page went viral, leading to all the breathless Bieber-related media coverage. The real Buckhead Coalition led by former Atlanta mayor Sam Massell was bombarded with phone calls as well. He had nothing to do with this, of course.

This morning, a handful of Regular Guys interns pretended to be concerned Buckhead citizens in front of the mansion. All four local TV stations were there, along with a Miami correspondent for TMZ and folks from Star 94 and Power 96.1. Regular Guys crew member Tim Andrews, as a rep for the group Harold White, said he talked via Facebook or by phone to the National Post in Canada, CNN and the BBC, among others.

“We kind of took steps to make it work and then release it into the ether,” Wachs said later Monday. “We couldn’t predict how wide it would go but by Sunday afternoon, it was apparent this was going to be big.” If anything, he said, it shows how easy it can be to fool reporters who don’t check the veracity of sources.

The reveal created a new set of stories about the hoax from CNN, CBS Atlanta, E! Online and the Atlanta Business Chronicle, to name a few.

A sample story from Fox 5:

Why did this hoax work so effectively? It sounded plausible. It was a topic the press loves to write about. And it plays into our images of Buckhead residents being uptight.

The last time an Atlanta radio station created a national ruckus over a prank was 99X in 2005 when Rich Shertenlieb held up a sign “Iron my shirt”/”Make My Dinner” in front of women’s rights activist Martha Burk, who was protesting the Masters club’s all-male policy at the time.  Shertenlieb called himself Heyward Jablome.

19 comments
NYNick
NYNick

 Was it Jeff The Hull man Hullinger that put together this Prank.... Yeah Come on!!

ElizaDelisa
ElizaDelisa

so many things for people to worry about, and will be concerned with the logo Bieber, let the boy live.

2infiniti
2infiniti

When I saw the inarticulate big dude giving an interview on 11-Alive yesterday morning, I KNEW it had to be fake.  He was dumb as dirt.  I guessed it right away.  The prank was lame and not funny at all.  Shame on the media for buying into that crap.

NickGerz
NickGerz

Finally.. TRG did something entertaining. It's been over 10 years... well done.

Yankee23
Yankee23

Yes, I fell for it. Read and posted comment along with hundreds of other fools.  Atlanta does not need this.  Too much negative already  on national news.

CanBee
CanBee

And this really demonstrates the Power of the Media who falsely report stories and headlines like:

Majority of Americans support "Same-Sex Marriage, Legalized Marihuana, Gay Rights, Gun Control" among other things.

juliainatlanta
juliainatlanta

so...Creative Loafing figured it out while all of the MSM swallowed it hook, line and sinker. hahaha  that ought to tell you all you need to know about the pathetic shape of so called news outlets today.  Edward R Murrow is spinning in his grave.

Suzette316
Suzette316

Okay, and one other thing . . . why do we set people up to make them look foolish? What is wrong with some people that the only way they can feel superior about themselves is to make others look bad? The people on that radio station, and those of you who think this is humorous, really need to grow up and work on your own self-esteem. You are tiresome to the rest of us.

Andy123
Andy123

TRG actually did something funny?  Now that's amazing! 

Suzette316
Suzette316

Hoax or not, I hope he doesn't move here. We don't need another train wreck in Atlanta. We have enough of our own.

Dasdguy
Dasdguy

Too Funny...I thought it was real. Nice GOTCHA regular guys.

Rijker
Rijker

THESE are the Regular Guys I remember listening to. Keep it up.

BiffPocoroba
BiffPocoroba

I guess Star and Fox5 have yanked their stories after looking stupid  

Hank_Hill
Hank_Hill

Good for Larry. Now bring back Eric.

OneRyder
OneRyder

@Suzette316  ...so you're saying, if it's a hoax, you're against the move that is being faked?