Members of the satirical Harvard Lampoon fooled Republican front-runner Donald Trump into thinking the university’s newspaper endorsed his presidential campaign, The Hill reported.
“The students who perpetrated this are fraudsters and liars, but frankly it was a waste of only a few minutes,” a campaign spokesperson said after the ruse was discovered. “Mr. Trump attended the great Wharton School of Finance, a school that has more important things to do.”
Lampoon members designed a fake website claiming to belong to its archrival, the Harvard Crimson, and posted an editorial calling the real estage mogul a job creator because of the “creative domino effect” generated by his reality show, Celebrity Apprentice.
“The politics of 2016 is about clicks and pageviews, whether we want to admit it or not,” the editorial argued. “Social media — a tool the Crimson also uses to interact with readers — has the ability to spread messages in an immediate and powerful way. Based on his advanced online presence, it is undeniable that the public is listening to Trump’s message.”
The “editorial” was accompanied by a picture of Trump with who he believed to be Crimson staff members, while sitting on a wooden chair taken from the second floor of the Crimson’s office. The photo can be seen below:
In reality, the students in the photograph were from the Lampoon; members of the publication had stolen the chair in late June as part of a prank battle between both newspapers. The Crimson reported that its president, Steven S. Lee saw “a casing for bolt cutters” near the chair’s normal spot, and immediately contacted the Lampoon to ask for it to be brought back.
“They said they would get back to me on it,” Lee said.
As of Monday night, the chair had not been returned to the Crimson.
The Daily Dot reported that in a separate prank, hackers from the group Telecomix Canada gained access to parts of Trump’s campaign website and used them to post a tribute to Daily Show host Jon Stewart, thanking him for “many happy years of quality journalism and entertainment.”
“We are writing you today via Mr Trump’s website because, seeming, [sic] the only way to get anyone to pay attention any more is to grease a Presidential candidate’s website,” the statement read in part.