Shellfail hoaxers send hoax legal threat. I fall for it.

Update: [5 minutes later]

OK, wait a second. It's a hoax.

Wainwright and Shore, the "PR Agency" that sent out this email, has only had a domain for a month. They've got virtually no Google footprint (just an Eventbrite listing for the hoax Shell event). The people who answer the phones are super-evasive.

Derp. I've been had.

Shell's PR department just sent me this:

Lawyers operating on behalf of Royal Dutch Shell plc. (Shell) are considering formal action against unknown activists who staged a counterfeit campaign launch event at the Seattle Space Needle.

The groups released a stream of social media content, with the defamatory hashtag #shellfail, which deliberately misrepresents the safety of Shell's drill rigs heading to the Arctic, and extensively violated Shell's intellectual property rights.

Shell is monitoring the spread of potentially defamatory material on the internet and reporters are advised to avoid publishing such material.

Yes, really. Shell is sending journalists emails containing veiled legal threats in case they should dare to report on a hashtag.

Be sure to check out the ArcticReady site, whose existence I would never have discovered had Shell's PR pros not made a point of telling me about it.

I just called the number in the press release (which also appears on the website of Wainwright and Shore, a PR agency) and confirmed that this was indeed sent on Shell's behalf to journalists.