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Occupy Wall Street Apologizes for Getting 'Hoaxed' By Radiohead Claim

By DNAinfo Staff on September 30, 2011 12:50pm  | Updated on September 30, 2011 4:57pm

By Jill Colvin, Ben Fractenberg, Nicole Bode and Tom Liddy

DNAinfo Staff

MANHATTAN — Hundreds of people descended on a Lower Manhattan park Friday afternoon in the wake of rumors that Radiohead was going to play a surprise concert for the Occupy Wall Street protest — only to learn that the claim, which sparked a flurry of chatter on the Internet, was a "hoax."

"It is 110 percent our fault," Occupy Wall Street spokesman Patrick Bruner told DNAinfo.com. "[Radiohead] deserve no blame for this.

"This is a hoax that originated independently of Radiohead and was picked up by our organization."

The news drew a torrent of angry reactions.

"Hey @occupywallstNYC way to lie about @Radiohead and kill your credibility. Go home," wrote @WallStRes on Twitter.

And @diggrbiii R tweeted: "Great start to a movement, guys. The organizers LIED about Radiohead
so more people would show up. #occupywallstreet."

Others appeared to gloat about drawing attention to the cause.

"We got thousands down here at #OccupyWallStreet after telling them Radiohead were coming...tomorrow we'll promise Justin Beiber and Jay-Z!," tweeted @The99Pct.

Just hours earlier, Bruner sent out an email saying that band was confirmed to play at Zuccotti Park, near the World Trade Center, where the protesters, who are rallying against Wall Street greed, have been camped out since Sept. 17.

"Radiohead will play a surprise show for #occupywallstreet today at four in the afternoon," Bruner wrote in an email.

The possibility of the performance by the popular British band, in town for a pair of shows at the Roseland Ballroom as well as a series of TV appearances, sparked a whirl of speculation on the internet.

"Expect a MESS. MT @michaelmiraflor So basically run TOWARDS or run AWAY from Wall Street at 4pm today #Radiohead #OccupyWallStreet," wrote @barbrats.

Others were skeptical.

"If Radiohead rumor is true, where will they play? There isn't enough room, or enough power, at Liberty Plaza," wrote @DarylLang.

But almost as soon as the rumor mill began churning, word began to emerge that the band may not be playing.

"Officially not happening," the band's spokesman, Steve Martin, of Nasty Little Man, wrote in an email to DNAinfo.com. "Never was. Sorry.

"First any of us heard of it were the rumors."

Later, the band took to Facebook to reiterate the point: "We wish the best of luck to the protesters, but contrary to earlier rumours, we will not be appearing today at Occupy Wall Street."

And some 40 minutes before the rumored 4 p.m. start of the show, Occupy Wall Street Bruner backed off the group's earlier claim.

"The concert is unconfirmed," he wrote. "Sorry about this - I'm in the dark as much as you as to what's going on right now."

The confusion left some who made the trip to the group's downtown encampment, where the crowd swelled in the wake of the annoucement, with mixed feelings.

Drew Nelson, 32, of Williamsburg, who works in finance, said that he was "getting hated on for asking where [the concert] is going to be."

People were asking: “Are you here for the cause or are you here for Radiohead?”

“On the one hand I don’t think it’s a good idea to lie to people to get them down here," Nelson said, although he did not suggest that organizers were lying.

Jessica Augier, 23, a student at the New York Acadmey of Art in Tribeca, trekked over to the park to try to catch a glimpse of the band.

"I cried on the day I couldn’t get tickets," she said of the show at Roseland. Augier said that she was “bouncing around” and “skipping down the street on the way here” at the prospect of seeing the band.

But she was resigned to the fact that Radiohead might not play. "I kind of anticipate they’re not going to show," she said. "It’s nice to be outside. It’s a beautiful day.”

Ben Esler, 28, of the West Village, an actor who moved three weeks ago from Los Angeles, appeared to agree.

“I wanted to check [the protest] out anyway, but [the concert] was an incentive," he said.

“It would be fine,” if the group doesn't show up, he added.

Occupy Wall Street organizers held a press conference at 1 p.m. announcing the show and saying that a planned march on NYPD headquarters was canceled as a result.

Alex Carvalho, 28, said that the Occupy Wall Street Arts and Culture Committee Thursday, which he says he is a part of, received an email from someone affiliated with Radiohead saying they wanted to “support people on the ground," but asked the protesters not to announce anything until noon.

Carvalho, a med school grad, says that the protesters did not apply for a permit for the show and were bewildered as to why a Radiohead spokesman countered the group's claim.

But Radiohead's website and Twitter feed made no mention of the show.

Since protesters are not allowed to use microphones or bullhorns, they make an announcement and everyone in the crowed repeats it.

After the announcement was made about the show, they said: "I hope we remember why we’re here. It’s not for a band or a show. It’s to build a better world."