Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Fake press release with statement from Alice Walton, Walmart heiress, makes rounds on Twitter
“… I have always assumed these hard-working men and women were being treated well, paid well, and being compensated with proper health benefits and vacation time. On this holiday, I give thanks for the fortune I inherited and for all the workers who earned it for me.”—not said by Alice Walton
by Larry Geller
On first reading, it was clearly fake. But well done. If only.
A press release posted on a convincing but imitation Crystal Bridges Museum website (which may still be there, check here) included a purported statement from Alice Walton, a Wal-Mart heiress. It announced that her museum would close in sympathy with striking Wal-Mart workers who may be required to work on Thanksgiving day. It begins:
The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art will close on Friday, November 23, out of respect for the Walmart workers engaging in Black Friday strikes, walkouts, and pickets. Alice Walton, Chair of the Board of Directors, also asks all Americans to stay home with their family rather than shop on Thanksgiving, so that Walmart workers do not have to report to work in the middle their Thanksgiving meals on this national holiday. The Museum will reopen on Saturday, November 24.
It’s inconceivable that Ms. Walton is unaware of the working conditions in Wal-Mart stores.
The press release immediately brought to mind the past stunts of the Yes Men, who specialized in convincing public impersonations of corporate executives expressing unlikely contrition for their sociopathic misdeeds. The Yes Men have been quiet of late, but who knows who was responsible for the fake museum website….
Possibly the first word caught by Google that the website was fake was Don’t Worry America, Alice Walton Isn’t Closing Her Museum in Sympathy With Walmart Workers (Betabeat, 11/21/2012):
Fear not, sweet children of Bentonville. The celebration of the American spirit known as the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art isn’t closing on Friday. Walmart heir Alice Walton isn’t asking you not to shop on Thanksgiving in sympathy with striking workers. It’s just a cruel, cruel hoax.
And then Museum Press Release Pranksters Go After Crystal Bridges Over Walmart Labor Practices and other articles appeared.
Will the caper be covered in the commercial press? Let’s see.
Say what you will about Walmart but by instituting $4 prescription prices for the most common medicines and driving other pharmacies to match, Walmart did more for the average American's health care costs than all of Obamacare.
Ummm, appreciate the consumer partisanship, but if you had a son or daughter aged 25 or less, and they became seriously ill, you'd understand something more than $4 scrips are at stake here. Read the details, not just what Limbaugh's staff tweet to keep you angry and listening.