Letters were received by 20 local pharmacies claiming U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy (above) was going to continue her anti-marijuana dispensaries stance and shut-down pharmacies she believed were not in compliance with prescription drug laws.
There was more to the bold media hoax that targeted San Diego's U.S. Attorney earlier this week.
The activist groups behind the stunt came together under the auspices of the San Diego Museum of Art.
This latest development was first reported by NBC 7’s media partner,
The various principals involved are taking pains to clarify, if not correct, certain elements of it.
In any event, as "performance art", the hoax is getting a jaundiced eye from a lot of beholders.
"Here in the museum, we knew that a dialogue was going to happen,” said SDMOA executive director Roxana Velasquez in an interview Friday. “We knew that ‘The Yes Men’ were coming and relating to create this cultural dialogue and this conversation, and that's what happened in the museum."
"And I want to be very straightforward with you. We did not have any relation with that hoax. The San Diego Museum of Art did not have anything to do with that hoax."
It’s a hoax that U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy is now investigating for possible criminal implications, involving fake news releases saying her office would be shutting down local pharmacies linked to prescription drug abuse.
The hoaxers intruded on her Tuesday news conference with another release, explaining that their motive was to bash Duffy's aggressive stance against marijuana dispensaries.
They hailed from activist groups such as "The Yes Men", who teamed up for a "performance" art project in connection with SDMOA’s "Summer Salon" program.
Now, to their chagrin, the Museum has reaped some unwelcome attention.
"I'm sure that a lot of their donors are older, more affluent people who would not look too kindly on all that,” said Woodbridge, VA resident Cathy Carey, on a noontime visit to the museum with her daughter and a family friend from Texas.
Carey suggested that museum officials undertake “a little more understanding, a little more investigating into where the money is going" with future projects.
SDMOA and the activists bound up in the hoax insist no money has gone anywhere.
Will the museum, in fact, dig a little deeper into future proposals it nurtures?
Yes, according to Velasquez, but she cautions: “You can ask a contemporary artist what he is going to produce, you can have a sense. But maybe you don't know what the installation or performance would be."
Had she known beforehand what the true nature of the project was, Velasquez says she would have turned it down.
So far, the U.S. Attorney's office has not responded to a request for comment on this aspect of the hoax.
One of the perpetrators tells NBC 7 that they regret having inadvertently used the actual name of a Ramona man in the explanatory news release.