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Touch o' sarcasm: Celeb shots mislabeled as Wall St. protest

Canadian newspaper has some fun online, publishing photographs of Hollywood stars allegedly spouting Wall Street protest philosophy.

Despite appearances, these Globe and Mail celebrity photo captions are not the work of hackers.
Despite appearances, these Globe and Mail celebrity photo captions are not the work of hackers.
Globe and Mail

Some celebrities have joined the Occupy Wall Street protesters on their own, like Susan Sarandon, Mark Ruffalo, and Samuel L. Jackson. But others may be surprised to learn that they have lent their names to the cause.

At first glance you might suspect that some hacker was playing a prank on Canada's Globe and Mail Web site or trying to get some publicity for the protest movement, which has focused on wealth disparity in the U.S. and has spread from New York to other cities in the past few weeks.

The site's current Celebrity Photos of the Week section includes photos of protesters and celebrities with captions that seem glaringly out of place.

Next to a photo of a protester draped in an American flag, wearing a "Tax Wall Street" sign and flashing a peace sign, the caption read: "Thanks for the shout out, Caption Writing Person!"

Another caption accompanying a celebrity photo said: "Yes, stars came out in force last week to show their support for the brave little people taking part in Occupy Wall Street protests across America. Here, actress Sofia Vergara demands higher taxes for the wealthy as she arrives at the Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Los Angeles on Sunday."

"Actor Jeremy Piven strikes a blow for the disenfranchised at the Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Los Angeles on Sunday," another caption read, while actress Sanaa Lathan was reported to be "clearly outraged by the excessive bonuses paid to Wall Street executives."

And many were witty. "Lauren Conrad, well-known chronicler of the down and out in Orange County, wore shorts to the polo match to show her support for people who can't afford long pants, something she read about online one time or something," read another caption.

A call to the newspaper cleared things up. The Web site was not hacked, Richard Todd, overnight online editor, told CNET.

"The caption editor has a lot of leeway," he said. "They were an attempt to be witty; they are just tongue-in-cheek" and are not meant to reflect support for the protests on the part of the paper.

A hack is not an outlandish suspicion in this age of digital activism and mischief. LulzSec, an off-shoot of the Anonymous online activist group that is helping promote the protests, hacked into the site earlier this year and published a fake article claiming that deceased rapper Tupac Shakur was still alive and living in New Zealand. The same group took credit for hacking the site of The Sun in the U.K. in July and publishing a fabricated news article claiming owner Rupert Murdoch had died.

Hackers who support the protests also have been busy releasing personal information about the CEOs of Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase, about other bankers, and about a New York police officer who allegedly pepper-sprayed penned protesters unprovoked.