A video has surfaced on YouTube featuring a group of Hollywood anti-frackers, including actors Ed Begley Jr, Mariel Hemingway and documentary maker Josh Tickell, meeting with a Saudi sheikh in the Beverly Hills Hotel. In the meeting, the sheikh pledges to fund a film they plan to produce about the alleged evils of the fracking industry.
The sheikh, it turns out, was a fake, and the creation of undercover reporter/prankster James O’Keefe.
In the video, and a number of subsequent recorded phone calls, this sheikh, called Muhammed, boasts about how his intention is to scare the American people off fracking because, as he puts it, ‘If Washington DC continues fracking, America will be energy efficient, and then they won’t need my oil anymore’. His fracktivist friends nod and grin, but make it clear that they will never reveal that this is the true aim of the project.
The prank seems to be aimed at pointing out the ultimate insincerity of this gaggle of celeb anti-frackers. However, political campaigns often make deals with strange bedfellows, and there is nothing necessarily wrong with that. The real hypocrisy is that in any debate about fracking, there always comes a point when those arguing in favour of fracking are accused of being shills of the oil industry. At least now that argument can be used both ways.
Rossa Minogue is staff writer at spiked.