Is The Alleged Yacht Sex Tape Just A Publicity Stunt?

Is the alleged Yacht sex tape leak in fact a hoax intended to generate publicity about the band? Short answer: probably. For a longer answer, though, let’s look into the backstory.

Yacht, a Portland, Oregon electropop duo that consists of Jona Bechtolt and Claire L. Evans, updated their Facebook status yesterday with a post that claimed they’d been the victims of a serious invasion of privacy. “Today, due to a series of technological missteps and one morally abject person, a video that we made privately has been released to the public ” the status read. “Claire and I — who have been romantic and artistic partners since 2006 — made a ‘sex tape’. It was intended for us only… [But] now you have the option to be privy to that video. For us, that’s a shame.”

The band later updated the story with a comment left on the thread beneath the status: “We’re asking you one thing: if you feel like you 100% have to see this tape, don’t stream it on some tube site, or download a torrent. Instead, we beg of you to download the video, Louis C.K.-style, directly from us.” Punters are to be charged five dollars to download the video from a new microsite created by the band, apparently.

Fans responded with words of support and encouragement. One summed up the general reception to the update:

Twitter users also weighed in.

A number of online publications reported the news at face value, but there were rumblings on geek blog 4chan that the the Facebook status and its accompany website were part of a hoax. An anonymous user wrote: “so this is fake right? the only people posting screen shots are their celebrity mates.”

Possibly a bit generous to call the singer from middling Montreal indie band Islands a “celebrity”, but yeah, point taken. Also: the original Facebook status contains the line, “Our tastes in the bedroom might seem uncommon to some, and possibly off-putting,” which sounds like something Alan Partridge would say.

Thump report that they unsuccessfully attempted to download the video: “The site redirected to a “server error” page—and after checking [my colleague’s] bank history, we realised that the transaction had never been processed.

The band have a history of wacky stunts. When they first formed, they told journalists that they took their name from a futuristic after-school programme called Young Americans Challenging High Technology at which they claimed to have met (it doesn’t seem to have existed) and recorded a song called ‘LA Plays Itself’, which fans could only listen during an Uber price surge in Los Angeles. Is it conceivable, then, that this sex tape Facebook status could be part of a stunt to make some kind of comment about the state of the music industry and the clickbait culture that promotes it?

One Facebook user even thinks he knows which song it’s promoting:

In conclusion: probably a hoax. And one that surely has potential to backfire, as it’s predicated on people’s earnestness and sympathy. Well, Yacht might get fucked after all.