Earlier this weekend, Yahoo’s front-page for their entertainment section featured the headline: “Sharon Stone Named Suspected in Cannes Jewel Heist.” Below the headline, the credit goes to Variety. As an insanely juicy twist on the Cannes jewels heist, the news item was understandably given high billing in Yahoo’s newsfeed scroll.
While Yahoo gave serious treatment to the story, the article is actually from the satirical Hollywood-based Onion-type site Hollywood & Swine. Variety picked up the article with the tag: “Humor.” While Yahoo should have verified the source, it is out of character for Variety to republish this sort of news-item satire.
The Variety version of the story included this sentence: “Satire: This content was not produced by Variety, but we find it very funny.” Its humor source is clearer on the back page of the weekly print edition
than it is online, especially on Twitter, when a headline is easy to
take at face value. (The story is now clearly marked with the words Humor and Satire.)
While Yahoo‘s news-scanning skills are clearly faulty, Variety‘s should have foreseen these issues. The venerable 100-year-old trade usually originates stories via its own reporting. This
humorless piece seems out of character and it’s not surprising that
people got confused. The article isn’t particularly amusing or smart. It digs on Stone for not starring in movies for the past decade and uses evidence that she “steals scenes” to corroborate the robbery.
Besides highlighting something marked by facile, rude, and dated jokes,
the failure to properly and initially note that the story was satire could be
considered slanderous. Corrections have been made by Yahoo,
which includes the tag “Humor” before the headline.
The full text of the Hollywood & Swine article is below.
“French police have named actress Sharon Stone as their prime suspect in the daring heist, in which more than $1.4 million in jewels were stolen from a hotel room during the Cannes Film Festival. According to authorities, they zeroed in on the “Basic Instinct” star as their prime suspect after an IMDb search helped them realize the actress hasn’t been a movie star in almost a decade, which made her attendance at the Cannes Film Festival extremely suspicious, they noted.
“Sharon Stone’s last starring role in a major theatrical release was in 2006’s ‘Basic Instinct 2,’ which should have gone to straight-to-DVD anyway,” a spokesperson for the Nice police told Hollywood & Swine. “So what possible business does Sharon Stone have attending the 2013 Cannes Film Festival other than to steal expensive jewels? No one including Ms. Stone has been able to give us a good answer.”
When French detectives brought Stone in for questioning earlier today for her alleged involvement in the jewelry theft, she immediately began reciting popular lines from her infamous interrogation scene in 1992’s “Basic Instinct.” She then tried to intimidate detectives by uncrossing her legs, but officers explained to the Oscar-nommed actress that no one has wanted to see that since the ’90s.
Stone reportedly told detectives she was at the festival to see her former co-star Michael Douglas’ new Liberace biopic, “Behind the Candelabra.” Detectives quickly dismissed this as an unlikely motive for traveling across the globe to France, when like most of America, Stone could have waited until the film premiered on HBO. Detectives believe what may help them prove Stone is responsible for the jewel heist is the actress’s long and notorious history of theft. Detectives have numerous sworn affidavits by co-stars from her brief guest-starring stint on “Law & Order: SVU,” where Stone is accused of trying to steal every scene she was in by overacting.”