Fans of the street artist (emotional mothers, the guy at school who tagged driftwood for his GCSE Art, euro-transients with keffiyehs and rat-tails) were punked by fake news outlet National Report, which claimed the man behind the can was 35-year-old Paul Horner from Liverpool. This should have been the first giveaway, seeing as everyone knows Bansky is from Bristol, due to his propensity to stencil alarmist politics on any unsuspecting street corner.
I blame The Onion, the original fuel for the reactionary and the gullible. It's comical genius and high success rate for making your co-workers look stupid inspired a whole ranking of similar news outlets online. Somewhere along the line, people forgot nuanced satire and just decided to peddle total shit. You can thank laziness and the success of trolls on YouTube comment sections for that.
This is the kind of format National Report has taken. They write of confirmation from the BBC, imaginary press conferences and police details. The story then fools 200,000 people who post it on Facebook. You'd think people would maybe do a quick google before slamming share, but then maybe it's representative of the smash and grab world we live in.
The graffiti artist's anonymity has been a hot debate for years now. Reports of him being caught and arrested come around so often because it is easy to make up a story about a person who won't speak for themselves. Of the outcry, what seemed to be the most common theme was a disdain with the police for not having bigger fish to fry other than arresting this 'great artist'. I saw at least 3 people on my timeline paraphrase this, though the anger seemed to source from former Tory MP Louise Mensch, which is pretty funny.