The Megaupload Guy Just Long-Conned Sean Hannity Into Promoting his EDM Mixtape on Twitter
And I think it won troll of the year.
In what may be the best trolling any of us has ever witnessed, Kim Dotcom, a well known hacker from New Zealand used a conspiracy theory and the promise of “secret, exclusive information” to con career conspiracist and grifter, Sean Hannity into a massive, free influencer campaign to promote his self-released music.
The guy at the center of this is the super bright, but legally troubled founder of Megaupload, who previously spread a conspiracy that Obama, along with countless unnamed Hollywood Illuminati were out to get him and orchestrating his capture. This is probably partly true due to the fact that Megaupload was an MPAA nightmare, but still, I don’t think Obama spent that many sleepless nights focusing on How to nab that terrifying Megaupload guy.
ANYWAY. In the best grift of a grifter I’ve ever seen, Kim(@KIMDOTCOM) latched onto the Seth Rich conspiracy, which is very popular with the alt-right and championed, chiefly, by Hannity and an army of bots, and started promising that he had secret, damning evidence that would blow the whole bitch open and bring down the entirety of US Intelligence (and the left) (plus Hillary for some reason) (oh, and Obama, cuz you know, white supremacists need you to promise that too).
HOW JUICY IS THAT?!
Of course, Hannity proceeded to spend the next five days of his social media life sharing KIMDOTCOM’s website and Twitter posts far and wide and declaring vehemently, that today (Tuesday) would be the day of retribution for alt right conspiracy theorists who hate Intelligence (and intelligence), intellectualism, evidence, facts, POC, women, The FBI (why not) and expertise! The doomsday clock had hit 11:59:59! The end would come on Tuesday! Rapture! Gnosis! Vindication for those who really want to believe that their prejudices are just as valid as everyone else’s facts despite all evidence to the contrary!
It really was an epic campaign. In pro-level use of the Dan Brown phenomenon and the greatest exploitation of Conspiratorial Gnosticism I have ever witnessed, This Kim dude got Sean Hannity to carry out what would, by my estimate, be a mid-high 6 figure influencer campaign over the course of a week…FOR FREE. FOR FREE? FOR FREE.
And when the moment arrived, and the big reveal was blasted across the internets (tweets since deleted by KIMDOTCOM)…the website pointed to…
I’m not even kidding. It’s literally a splash page with a bunch of touts pointing to different music and videos and a book that you can buy, along with some press about now-defunct Megaupload’s legal troubles.
At the bottom of the splash, there’s a blurb that says, essentially:
“Hey I know some secret stuff! Secret knowledge, y’all. I’ll share it if the US government will fly me to America and ensure my safety, cuz, like, this bomb is THAT bombastic! AAAAANywhoooo…check out my mixtape. It’s 🔥!!!”
The “fly me to America” part is super weird, because Kim is currently fighting extradition to the US. I don’t know the details of his status, but I also don’t claim to know…see how easy that is to say and later defend?
If nothing else, this is a fantastic cautionary tale about social media in an era of post-heroic leadership, anti-intellectualism, anti-expertise and failing-up. As a rule of thumb, if someone sways you with a promise of secret knowledge, it means he has already figured out what you most want to believe and knows you will crusade for that desired belief to any and all ends. This is how conspiracies sustain. They identify participants who suffer from a specific brand of misery and promise evidence that the misery they suffer is not only wholly avoidable, but was placed on them by some malicious party with a vague, but entirely nefarious agenda.
When someone says, I can make you rich quick, I (only I) can solve all your problems, I have a secret formula that lets you win every interaction every time, I’ve seen what happens after you die, I’ve identified the secret enemies who are ruining your life, I talk directly to God and translate for you, etc…he is probably lying to you.
Now, as a point of caution, even though I am an entertainer and content creator and not a journalist or lawyer, I will say that there is ABSOLUTELY a possibility that Sean Hannity is right and that Kim Dotcom has secret evidence of a conspiracy. Anything is possible and should be considered. HOWEVER, I would give that scenario a 1/1000000000 line. Apply Occam’s razor. It doesn’t pan.
Anyway, Hannity is currently flailing all over Twitter trying to stick to his conspiracy. He’s deep in Al Capone’s vault and keeps telling us there’s treasure despite the fact that it’s clearly empty. FOX News has issued a retraction of reporting that seemed to support Hannity. They say they will “continue to investigate”. I would estimate they’re about one tweet away from giving Sean the bum’s rush. If Sean Hannity wasn’t such a dispicable human, this would be sad to watch.
Hope this was helpful! For more on conspiracy theories and how to keep an open mind while still not getting duped, check out this cool formula published by PBS!