05:30 PM on 10/13/10
Keith Explains First and foremost, where did the idea of using celebrities twitter accounts to promote the new DVD come from? Did ETID or the label do any legal background into it to make sure there wouldn't be any issues?
It all started backstage in Germany. Jordan decided to fake retweet Obama pretending to promote the DVD coming out on October 26th. Once we saw that, we realized the possibilities were endless so we just began a fake campaign using the biggest Internet celebs we could think of. We were using every big whig that came to mind. Sarah Palin, CNN, Glenn Beck, Oprah, etc. But then we realized after a few minutes that in order to make it somewhat believable, maybe we shouldn't take it to such an extreme. A lower list celebrity might actually fool some people. So we went for Das Biebs, Pee Wee Herman and Roger Ebert.
Why Kanye West?
Obviously Kanye is a controversial "artist" so why not throw him into the fire? It was an off the cuff "who ELSE is big on twitter" thing. We should have recognized, however, that because of his self-aggrandizing publicity stunts, he is the kind of dude to micro- manage EVERYTHING the media says about him. The best part about twitter is that no matter who you are, you can't ignore when a few hundred people in a row write directly to your account. so when we fake RT'd him, and that got RT'd by the people that follow us, some sort of attention would have been drawn to his account.
Did you face any backlash from those accounts or their publicists? Or did any celebrities respond positively to the whole thing?
Jimmy Fallon actually responded positively. The minute he got his own show our management has been pitching us with footage from our Kimmel appearance. Fallon has had on a bunch of our friends so I guess it's not completely inconceivable that we were on his radar. Andy Dick is actually still a friend of ours since Kimmel so his tweet was no surprise. That dude still calls me when ETID plays in LA looking to party.
Are you surprised that you didn't receive any from anyone else?
I'm actually bummed that our Pee Wee and Weird Al tweets didn't get any response. we've been fans of theirs since we were all in grace school
What has the support been like from fans?
The support has been unreal. I mean, at this point we're still in disbelief. It's all still hysterical to us. We were joking from the beginning but now the joke has taken on a life of it's own and has begun to infringe on our reality. maybe we've found strength in numbers. All our followers on twitter fighting for us and encouraging us and doing so without any trepidation really means the world to us. I personally feel safe from all of this, as if I have a gang of people protecting me. Maybe the reality will set in once/if we get served with papers. Who knows.
What questions does this raise about libel/slander and identity theft amongst social networking? Since this is yet another gray area along with downloading back doors, do you think it's time for someone to start rethinking legal precedents on it?
I'm sure that we're not the first to co-opt identities online. I mean, it wasn't until last year that I started a facebook account only to find out that someone had already started one for me and had tricked hundreds of people into thinking it was ME that was communicating. It's a very dangerous terrain. Completely lawless. I guess maybe there's a point where you feel that it's incumbent upon you to take a very juvenile revenge upon the whole landscape. That's what we did for those 3 hours. Unfortunately, we trespassed on a very lawFULL terrain and now we're paying for it.
Do you think other media outlets will take notice if all of this turns out to be nothing and follow in step? Does this present a problem of privacy amongst marketers and their consumers/bands' fans who wish not to partake?
Well it all depends on what extent they find it to be untrue. We were truly quoted by people who objected to themselves being quoted. we are truly in a legal dispute. this is the problem with the Internet as a whole. No one feels the need to claim responsibility. Look at "To Catch a Predator", the greatest show on TV. Where is the line drawn and at what point does it get crossed? The web is nebulous. People can infer and predict and surmise all they want but when is it legitimately a dangerous undertaking? We faked identities, harmless. But we amassed dissidents. Harmful. At what point are we to take blame?
How would you feel if it was done to you?
I'd feel those who try it need to get their own gimmick. We did it first.
Big thanks to Keith for taking the time to answer our questions.