The news about a UFO over the Hampshire city of Portsmouth in England last weekend has turned out to be a hoax aimed at promoting an upcoming Sci-Fi and Fantasy event by organisers to create a buzz about it in advance.
The so-called hoax showed a photo with a mysterious object in the sky and quoting a fictitious Met Office person certifying that it wasn’t a cloud.Now, it has been revealed that the hoax was intentionally orchestrated by staff from Action Stations at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard as a publicity stunt to promote their Sci Fi event scheduled for the weekend.
Joshua Hibberd, Learning Co-ordinator at Action Stations said: “I had this idea of doing it so I got ten people to take a photo of the sky at the same time as it needed to be consistent. They sent their pictures to me and the photos were then edited.”
First they created a buzz on to sci-fi forums talking about the #pompeyufo which was picked up by a local newspaper The News, who called the members to confirm it. Joshua said, “Eventually we got them to pick it up and they called Johnny Blackwell which was one of our pseudonyms. I spoke to them as Johnny Blackwell and gave them the information they needed and then from it being in The News it really took off.”
But soon the news was a hit around the world picked up by many websites in Canada, India, Singapore, Australia, USA that Joshua said, “We weren’t expecting it to go as big and wide as it did. It was great to see that enough people have an interest in science fiction to be talking about it for it to become a wideworld thing.”
This is not the first UFO hoax but using it for promotional purposes with questionable marketing gimmicks often lead to outrage among the readers. Ultimately, all UFOs are either hoaxes or have some other explanation and media often fell prey to such gimmicks, including our coverage of the event.