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Yes Men prankster fools media with hoax about Reed divestment

Reed College’s commencement speaker announced Monday that the college has agreed to divest its fossil fuel stocks.

Students cheered, but there’s one slight problem.

It was a hoax.

The speaker was Igor Vamos, a 1990 Reed graduate who is part of the Yes Men, a duo that stages elaborate political pranks to press an anti-corporate message. Vamos sent a fake press release to publicize his faux news, and created a fake website.

The press release was credible enough to fool the Tribune’s Sustainable Life editor, who posted a news brief based on the press release. Sustainable Life has run previous stories about Reed student activists’ campaign to get the private college to divest its fossil fuel stocks.

Kevin Myers, Reed’s director of strategic communications, called to notify us we were duped by the hoax.

Reed officials are still weighing the request to divest their fossil fuel stocks, but no decision has been made, Myers said.

The Yes Men’s political pranks have been well-publicized in two movies, "The Yes Men" (2003) and "The Yes Men Fix the World" (2009).

Reed officials took Vamos’s latest prank in good humor.

“Vamos is a great guerrilla artist and we were proud to have him return to Reed,” said Reed President John Kroger in a press release. “We appreciate the robust and far-ranging debate that this prank will continue to spur.”

Steve Law can be reached at 503-546-5139 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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